I Stand Here Ironing

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A Mother’s Decision In the short story “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen, the reader is introduced to a mother faced with a strong internal conflict involving her eldest daughter Emily. Emily’s mother makes a very meaningful statement at the end of the story. Her statement was “help [Emily] to know that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron” (Olsen, 582). This statement shows the reader …

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…an internal conflict throughout the story. She cannot seem to deal with the life that she has given her daughter. While Emily’s mother always felt as if she had made many bad choices in raising Emily, she also showed that she cared for Emily in a strong sense. Ultimately, Emily’s mother wanted her to know that what she possessed on the inside was far more important than what she wore on the outside.