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The Character of Mother in Tillie Olsens I Stand Here Ironing The short story I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen begins with a mother ironing and responding to a question about her daughter Emily The mother begins to think back about her daughter growing up Emily was born during the Depression so as a single parent her mother had to work many jobs to provide a life for her little girl Getting through to Emily on an emotional level and showing her the love she needs has always been difficult because Emily was a very awkward little girl who isolated herself from others Throughout the course of the story mothers actions and words reveal her to be a loving mother wrestling with her own guilt of her daughters upbringing who wants nothing more than to show her daughter Emily the love she has always felt but can never give her Emilys mother feels guilty over mistakes she made as a young mother with Emily because she feels she has not given her daughter the life she deserves and may have caused Emily to have some of the problems she evidently now has In the story the mother explains the hardship they both endured when Emily was born I was nineteen It was the pre-relief pre-WPA world of depression 300 Without the knowledge of how to raise a child or the necessary funds she does not spend much time with her daughter Mother takes Emily to the fathers family until she saves enough money to bring her back Mother noticed that her decision to send Emily away affected Emilys personality I hardly knew her walking quick and nervous like her father thin and dressed in a shoddy red that yellowed her skin and glared at the pockmarks 300 Emily was unlike the other children She did not throw fits to stay
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