I Stand Here Ironing Essay & Project Ideas

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1. Olsen has a long history of political activism, and she was once jailed for trying to organize blue-collar workers to join a union. Explain how "I Stand Here Ironing" echoes Olsen's leftist politics, even though it contains no overt political statements.

2. What do you think Olsen believes is a more important influence in a person's life—the role of nature, or the role of nurture? Give some examples of Emily's character traits that her mother thinks are due to nature and some she believes are due to nurture.

3. Many psychologists believe that birth order influences personality. Research this idea and find out what some studies have found to be common traits among first-born children. How is Emily's behavior representative of oldest children, and how is it different?

4. Write a character sketch of the narrator of the story. What does the reader learn about her...

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This section contains 211 words
(approx. 1 page 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.