I Stand Here Ironing Essay

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In the following essay, Frye asserts that motherhood is presented in Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing " as a metaphor for the individual's search for selfhood and as a literary experience.

Motherhood as literary metaphor has long been a cliche for the creative process: the artist gives birth to a work of art which takes on a life of its own. Motherhood as literary experience has only rarely existed at all, except as perceived by a resentful or adoring son who is working through his own identity in separation from the power of a nurturant and/or threatening past. The uniqueness of Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing" lies in its fusion of motherhood as both metaphor and experience: it shows us motherhood bared, stripped of romantic distortion, and reinfused with the power of genuine metaphorical insight into the problems of selfhood in the modern world.

The story...

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This section contains 1,480 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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I Stand Here Ironing from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.