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The story’s point of view is authentic and convincing. The narrator is a woman of thirty-eight doing the common domestic chore of ironing clothes (in the days before permanent-press clothing). Her narration is not so much a story as a meditative recollection prompted by a presumably recent telephone call from a college counselor. One might also think of the narrative as an interior monologue or conscious musing, designed for a specific listener, but never heard or seen by him or her. At one point in the narrative (paragraph 16) the narrator becomes so affected by her recollection that she puts her iron down. At the end, she considers the iron again and it suggests to her a negative comparison with her daughter (paragraph 55). The narrator realizes that Emily is an individual with her own life and the capacity to make free choices, unlike the dress being ironed.
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