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Tillie Olsen Writing Styles in I Stand Here Ironing

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Style

Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing" tells the story of a mother's relationship with her eldest daughter in a stark and dramatic fashion that has impressed critics and fellow writers with its originality and accessibility. The story is told entirely in the voice of the mother, but nonetheless manages to convey a dynamic relationship between two believable characters without resorting to cliche and sentimentality.

Structure and Point of View

The story is told through the interior monologue of an unnamed mother as she irons her daughter Emily's dress. The catalyst for the monologue appears to be a request from an unspecified source, perhaps a school guidance counselor, for help in understanding the narrator's troubled daughter. The monologue consists of the narrator's fantasies, presented in a stream-of-consciousness manner, about what she might say in response to such a request.

Such a narrative structure not only provides a dramatic context to draw...

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This section contains 580 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our I Stand Here Ironing Study Guide
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I Stand Here Ironing from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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