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First published in 1961, Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” is a powerful reflection on motherhood. In this first person account, this mother ponders on her role in parenting – especially one specific child, Emily. It’s revelatory in what we learn. For this short story discussion, begin by the reviewing the contents in the “Genre: Short Story Analysis” Module. In it you’ll find links connected to story analysis with particular focus on the short story elements: character, setting, etc.
For this analysis, read our short story and argue the significance of “character” and one other element (of your choosing). The point is to discuss and analyze the story in light of these two elements. You’ll soon notice that this story is as much about her eldest daughter as it is about the mother. Feel free to discuss their relationship considering it’s ultimately at the heart of this story.