In "I Stand Here Ironing ," our unnamed narrator is thinking to herself about a meeting to talk about her daughter, Emily. Throughout the course of the text, the mom thinks about the difficult instances they've been through and questions if she made the right choices. She wonders if...
In "I Stand Here Ironing," our unnamed narrator is thinking to herself about a meeting to talk about her daughter, Emily. Throughout the course of the text, the mom thinks about the difficult instances they've been through and questions if she made the right choices. She wonders if the teacher knows all she's tried to do to help her daughter and if she's failed at helping Emily. Since the entire piece is only from the mother's perspective rewriting it from the daughter's perspective would give us new insight into their lives.
If Emily were to write, she might begin by reflecting on growing up without her father since her dad left them when she was eight months old. We know that her mom "had to leave her daytimes with the woman downstairs ... for I worked or looked for work and for Emily's father, who 'could no longer endure.'" While her mother saw Emily as a beautiful baby, Emily could talk about being left behind while her mother looked for work.
Emily could also talk about how she felt her mother didn't love her. We know that a neighbor told her mother, "You should smile at Emily more when you look at her." This leaves us (and her mom) wondering what facial expressions were given to her daughter. Though the mother loves her daughter, Emily's perspective as a child could show that she doesn't understand it.
Emily also doesn't understand when her mother must leave her to go to the hospital. By this point, her mother has remarried and is about to have another daughter, but Emily doesn't want her mother to leave her.
"Can't you go some other time, Mommy, like tomorrow?" she would ask. "Will it be just a little while you'll be gone? Do you promise?"
We learn that Emily gets the measles while her mother is at the hospital. If Emily were to write her response, she might talk about not being able to get near her mom or new sister while she was ill. She might also talk about being sent away to a "convalescent home in the country" for eight months. While her mother does this out of love and hopes that it will heal her daughter, the separation only continues to divide them.
While teachers say Emily as "an over-conscientious 'slow learner' who kept trying to catch up and was absent entirely too often," Emily might explain that she missed school because of her asthma or that she had to stay home to help take care of her brothers and sisters. Emily could explain the difficulty she had keeping up with her classes while being busy at home.
"I Stand Here Ironing" follows Emily's journey to this point from her mother's point of view, but if we look at it from her side, we can understand her motivations and experiences.