Tillie Olsen American Literature Analysis
Readers of Tillie Olsen’s fiction may come away with a heightened understanding of the complexities inherent in being a woman in a society that values predominantly the male perspective on things. Olsen challenges readers to empathize with the woman’s point of view. Whether she is speaking through a character in her fiction or speaking directly to teachers, writers, or readers of fiction, Olsen always seeks to redress the balance between the male and the female points of view.
What does Olsen want her reader to know about women? She invites readers to consider their various strengths, the history of their being an oppressed class of people, the limited roles they were offered in Western society, the abusive relationships they were forced to suffer, the powerful alliances they made with other women, the tolerance and patience they exhibited toward their husbands, the silences and solitudes they experienced at different times of their lives, their being expected to live “for” others instead of “with” others, and their capacity for insight and wisdom into the heart of life. In short, Olsen wants readers to know of the richness, depths, and diversity of the inner lives of women. She wants readers to view life through a woman’s eyes—and see women as individuals.
Whether she tells a story from the point of view of the child Mazie in Yonnondio: From the Thirties or from the point of view of an old woman in “Tell Me a...
(The entire section is 4037 words.)
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