I Stand Here Ironing Characters

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Nineteen-year-old Emily is the eldest child of the narrator. Her mother regrets much about Emily's upbringing, saying: "She was a child seldom smiled at." Her father deserted the family less than a year after her birth, during the worst of the Depression. While her mother struggled to make ends meet, young Emily was handed over to a variety of temporary caretakers. As young girl, Emily was considered homely—"thin and dark and foreign-looking at a time when every little girl was supposed to look or thought she should look a chubby blonde replica of Shirley Temple"—and she became shy and passive. After her mother's second marriage, Emily was eclipsed by her younger, more self-assured half-sister Susan. To her mother's surprise, Emily has developed a talent for comedic acting—a "deadly clowning"—which wins her an audience, but she seems to lack motivation. At the end of the...

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This section contains 470 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the I Stand Here Ironing Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
I Stand Here Ironing from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.