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Literary Critique

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Daniele86
Words 1492
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Literary Critique of “I Stand Here Ironing”
Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” focuses on a mother who receives a phone call while ironing, about her eldest child Emily. The call comes from a school guidance counselor asking her to make time to see her so they could discuss helping Emily. While listening, the mother partakes in a mental or interior monologue of her first born child’s life, and how being a single teen mother facing poverty shaped her daughter into who she is to today; a stiff, awkward ,and isolated young woman. Although there are various angles in which to analyze this text, the prominent angle is how society, especially in the 1930’s, view of women and motherhood have affected the narrator in her way of raising Emily. A sociological critique of I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen examines a wide range of social and feminist issues throughout the short story. Theses social ills have left the narrator with a strained psyche and have her questioning her parenting.
I “Stand Here Ironing” is a short story in which the reader gets a mental image of the way it was for the narrator to raise her child alone. The narrator was a single mother at the age of nineteen, living during the latter years of the Depression. As a single mother during the depths of the Great Depression it was an especially hard time. The narrator describes the world in which her first child, Emily was born into. “It was the pre-WPA world of the depression” (290). Emily’s mother struggled to find a job to support her child, and eventually she was able to. Still not making enough money to support them both, she felt she needed to leave her child with other family members until she could get on her feet. The first time Emily was sent away for two years, before her mother was able to care for her again. “It took a long time to raise money for the fare back. Then she got chicken pox…...

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