What are some topics relating to the characters from I stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen, from the mother/ narrator perspective? What are some  topics(charcters ,events settings and themses) in...

What are some topics relating to the characters from I stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen, from the mother/ narrator perspective?

What are some  topics(charcters ,events settings and themses) in I stand hear ironing in the Mother/narratives prespective?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The relationship between Emily and her mother is never straight-forward in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen and will not be resolved, despite the mother's best efforts. "Can I get you something?" ... "No I'm all right, go back to sleep Mother" illustrates the ongoing conflict that Emily's mother, the narrator, feels and which she can never change.

Emily's apathy stems from a culmination of events and circumstances which, from a child's perspective, led to her withdrawal and indifference because "in a couple of years when we'll all be atom-dead they won't matter a bit." Emily is referring to her exams but it is understood to have far-reaching implications. Her mother does not have high expectations of Emily who, due to her mother's poor parenting skills "will not bloom." Although she does want Emily to understand that she has a far greater role in life and is more than "helpless before the iron," she cannot express herself sufficiently to make this clear to Emily and she contributes to Emily's poor self-esteem by comparing her to Susan and, unwittingly, setting her up for failure. 

It is characteristic of the mother to "let her be" which sentiment has caused conflicting interpretations, interpreted by some as an effort to trust Emily and have faith in her ability to make a future for herself but, based on what the reader has learned about the mother, it seems more to be about the mother's own lack of confidence and lack of belief in her own ability to have any positive effect on Emily.  

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