"Tillie Olsen's I Stand Here Ironing"
SparkNotes: I Stand Here Ironing
I STAND HERE IRONING
"I Stand Here Ironing," a dramatization of Tillie Olsen's frequently
anthologized short story, is an unvarnished exploration of an
impoverished single mother's ambivalence toward her worth as
a parent and her 19-year-old daughter's future. Rich in subtext,
the film raises important questions about individual identity, the role
of woman in society, the effects of poverty and abandonment on
children. Drawn from the life experiences of the author herself, the
film is a portrait of Depression Era America. Without climax or easy
answers, the story concludes on a hopeful, or at least prayerful note.
SOLENE LE VAN
PHOTOGRAPHY - DARREN GENET
MUSIC - ROCKY DAVIS
EDITOR - STEPHEN GOETSCH
SET DESIGNER - DEB A. LONGUA
ADAPTED, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
BRUCE R. SCHWARTZ
release date - 2005
I Stand Here Ironing - College of Southern Idaho
The article presents several articles and books that review the short story "I Stand Here Ironing," by Tillie Olsen. They include "The Passion of Tillie Olsen," by Elizabeth Fisher in the April 10, 1972 issue of "The Nation," "Tillie Olsen: A Study of the Short Fiction," by Joanne S. Frye and...
In “I Stand Here Ironing,” Olsen suggests that the role of selfless mother that society expects women to embrace is actually an obstacle to any kind of successful self-discovery. Rather than help women achieve self-actualization, motherhood actually strands women in lives laden with toil and excessive responsibility. Olsen offers a representation of motherhood laid bare, shorn of any romantic embellishment. Instead of presenting an ideal example of a nurturing role model guiding her charges to success, Olsen gives us a protagonist who obsessively meditates on the harsher, more bitter realities of family life. The narrator deflates certain overblown notions regarding motherhood, in particular the primacy of the child-parent bond. The narrator no more understands Emily than the teacher or counselor who requests the mother’s presence at a face-to-face meeting. The narrator is not evil, abusive, or intentionally neglectful, but she is a conflicted victim of circumstance whose personal resources can go only so far. The fact that the narrator did not or could not participate more fully in Emily’s life may have led to the undefined issue that currently besets the young woman. The narrator is able to meet the basic physical needs of her children but is incapable of forming a deeper, more emotional bond with them.Though her body of work is small, Tillie Olsen's unique perceptiveness and style have made her an important American writer. In "I Stand Here Ironing," not much happens: the narrator irons some dresses and exchanges a few words with her daughter. The real action is internal, a form of biographical free association reflected in Olsen's fragmented style. There is no climax, no answer, no satisfactory conclusion--just the mother's tormented moving mentally "back and forth with the iron." Yet the story ends on a hopeful, or at least prayerful, note.