I Stand Here Ironing Essay Examples and Research Papers

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Feminism in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

“I Stand Here Ironing” was written in 1961 about the issues women sometimes, face such as poverty and motherhood. Tillie Olsen was known for her political views in the 1930s. She was part of the first generation of feminists. Born in Wahoo, Nebraska, many of Tillie Olsen’s works were a voice of the struggles of…

I Stand Here Ironing,


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Pages: 8
Words: 1984

“I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen

Summary “It was the pre-relief, pre-WPA world of the depression”. The story begins with a mother ironing. Her daughter, Emily, is said to need help but her mom doesn’t believe she needs any, questioning “Who needs help”. The mother “worked or looked for work”, leaving her eight month old daughter with a woman whom “was…

I Stand Here Ironing,


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Pages: 2
Words: 291


Tillie Olsen

originally published



"I Stand Here Ironing" is a short story by Tillie Olsen. It was published in her short story collection Tell Me a Riddle in 1956.


Emily is the central character of “I Stand Here Ironing,” the subject of a fractured portrait that emerges from the narrator’s memories of the past.

I Stand Here Ironing looks at the themes of women and femininity through the lens of a mother-daughter relationship. Struggling to make ends meet during the Great Depression, the narrator works long hours and is unable to care for her daughter.

Metaphor. One of the story’s central metaphors is established in the opening line: I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron. As the narrator irons her daughter (Emily)’s dress, she is also “ironing out” her daughter’s path and problems.

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