I Stand Here Ironing Themes & Topics

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of I Stand Here Ironing.
This section contains 719 words
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The principal theme explored by "I Stand Here Ironing" involves the powerful and mysterious bond between mothers and daughters. The drama of the story derives from the narrator's struggle with guilt at allowing her first daughter to endure pain and privation in her youth. Furthermore, the mother seems to suffer from a kind of anxiety at the realization that her child has developed into a person fully independent of her.

The story opens with what seems like a direct address: "I Stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron." Throughout the rest of the story the narrator does vacillate between feeling guilt and recalling the extenuating circumstances that absolve her.

What provokes this evaluation of her child's upbringing is a note from a teacher, counselor, or social worker. It reads, in part, "I wish you would manage the time to...

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This section contains 719 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.