Analyze the tonal shifts in the story. Use evidence from the short story to prove. Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing"

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Tone, which is an integral part of a narrative, is produced by the writer's diction as well as stylistic choices concerning syntax, line or sentence length, imagery, and other figurative language.  In Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing," the tonal shifts of the narrator/ mother, indicate her shifts from anything from ambivalent to sardonic to ironic, angry to remorseful, analytical to wistful and back to ambivalent.

In the beginning of Olsen's story, the mother says, "I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron."  Here the frustration of the mother is illustrated by the metaphor of the ironing back and forth with the choice of words:  "tormented" and "back and forth."  Clearly, the mother is frustrated and ambivalent about her daughter's psychological problems that the counselor wishes to address.  She does not feel she can help since "There is all that life that has happened outside of me, beyond me....And when is there time to...

(The entire section contains 585 words.)

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