I Stand Here Ironing Essay

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It is unusual that the story starts with a description of the mother ironing.

This strategy easily draws readers’ attention and introduces the narrator character to the readers.

The assumption is due to people most likely are programmed by patriarchy.

Women are responsible for taking care of the family and doing all the house works.

The reader sees that the mother has to make a decision on something, with the iron at first seeming to symbolize her thoughts moving back and forth with the tormenting thought, but is actually revealed to symbolize something different as the story goes on.

The use of the word “torment” implies that this thought has plagued her mind for a period of time, or that it immediately becomes a thought of great contention within herself.“I stand here ironing” is a very straightforward and simple description, but yet it conveys a deeper meaning and draws the readers into the narrative.The mother’s ironing provides the metaphor for the whole story.It also implies that the mother is not good at making important decisions, or choices in general.The issue that has entered the mother’s mind is that of her daughter’s future.The mother immediately feels that she could not help her daughter make such major decisions, since her daughter has already lived for nineteen years and “there us all that life that has happened outside of me, beyond me.” The mother has lived a harsh life – she became a mother at the age of nineteen in a “world of depression,” and the father of her children ran away because he could not handle taking care of the family.The mother has resigned herself to the life she now lives, and that she will never be more than a mother at an ironing board.The narrator uses symbolism, flashback, and repetition to show a bereft mother who feels helpless in the decisions regarding her daughter and her hopefully bright future.The first sentence of the excerpt “I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron” immediately gives the reader some insight on the mother.Those who try to get assistance or had work outside of the home were openly ridicule or in some cases their jobs were taken and any financial support saying that men should have it. The story begins with a sentence “I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron” (Olsen 73).


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