“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker and “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen both personified a mother with great love and compassion for their children. Although each mother was separated by cultural and social differences the mothers in these stories shared a similar character. Character that can only be found in a mother, and can only be obtained through struggles, hardship and perseverance. Both mothers succeeded through life and providing the best for their children in every way possible, alone. Whether it is sending them to college when money was obviously short or extending a love to them that was boundless. These mothers held the height of their profession, known as “Momma”.
“Everyday Use” depicts a large black woman with a heart as big as her profile and the work ethic of an ox. Dee’s mother has taken the persecutions of life in stride, from the family house burning down to her husband leaving her. In that respect she shared a lot in common with Emily’s, mother. Emily’s mother also made no mention of support from a male figure in the story and was struck with tragedy when her daughter was taken to some sort of mental ward and released sometime later. Even with the trials they have been sent through, alone, these women came out on top and in one way or another their children where better off than the culture they arose from.
Emily’s mother and Dee’s (Wangero’s) mother both encountered struggles with there children and seemed to handle them in a similar fashion. Although the encounters Emily’s and Dee’s mother faced were different, they handled them with the same poise and resilience of woman of fine nobility. When Dee came back home to visit after college her mother withstood the flashy car, the lofty attitude and the superficial name changes. It was not until Dee began manipulating Maggie (her younger sister) to get what she demanded that their mother stepped in and put her foot down, it was time for Dee to come to the realization that she was not in charge.
Which was a seemingly newly gained attitude from the influence of her boyfriend. Emily’s mother faced conflict of a different nature when the daughter that she loved and adored was taken to a mental ward. Although she was unable to change the circumstances in her own power, she still remained faithful in the love for her daughter. These women went through something that no man could and that is; having something you love and cherish, something that you live you whole life for, be taken away beyond their own power. While these women sometimes lost their cool they still held a style and grace all their own and never lost their dignity.
“Everyday Use” and “I Stand Here Ironing” have two women who could seemingly endure anything. They have overcome trauma, abandonment, and even fires, and still these things have not hardened their hearts. Emily’s and Dee’s mother, both, loved and provided for them right up to the last paragraph. With the gentle heart, strong work ethic and iron discipline these women possessed, they could stand be held up to any Caesar and not fall short. If the title of this essay holds true, these women hold a character and hope beyond measure.