I Stand Here Ironing Social Concerns

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"I Stand Here Ironing" is an incredibly dense story, packing a number of profound social concerns into an extremely small space. It is important, then, for the reader to infer a great deal when reading Olsen's story and constantly to ask questions about what social forces have frustrated the narrator and why. To do so is to become aware of Olsen's concerns about the inequitable treatment of women, the lack of social services (child care in particular), the inadequacy of pay for menial jobs, and the pressure the mass of people put on individuals to conform to seemingly arbitrary standards.

Such concerns do not just appear in Olsen's fiction; they pepper her biography.

Olsen's first experiences as a professional writer actually occurred during her years as a political activist. In 1931, she joined the Young Communist League and took on a series of political tasks, including union organizing among...

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This section contains 1,200 words
(approx. 3 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.