The Use Of Doubles In Tillie Olsen's I Stand Here Ironing

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Tillie Olsen uses doubling in “I Stand Here Ironing” to symbolize the fear that the narrator expresses for her eldest daughter Emily. The narrator fears that her life is being reflected in her daughter. She does not want her daughter to grow up the way she did. They are at odds with each other throughout the story. Emily needs help and her mother is not in the right place to give her that help. The use of doubles in this story reflects the lives of Emily and the narrator to show how similar they actually are. In this story, the narrator is expressing her concerns for Emily’s future to an unnamed individual. The narrator was only 19 years old when she had her first child. Emily is now 19 (Olsen 223, 224). The teenage years are an important time for growth and independence into young adulthood. During the depression, Emily’s mother was struggling to care for herself and her baby. Based on the conversation at the beginning of the story between the narrator and the unnamed individual, Emily seems to be heading down a similar path of…show more content…
Raising children is not easy and making sure that every child has exactly what they need to be happy and healthy can be a challenge. Living as a child of a single mother is not easy either. The narrator and Emily in Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” are both flawed. Each has lived a life of hardships and fought through feelings of inadequacy. Each is working towards making a better life for themselves. While the narrator feels regret for not being able to raise her daughter right, she understands that mistakes will be made and her children can still grow up to be okay in the world. While Emily learns from her past and works towards a new future, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect child. In realizing that the narrator and Emily are very similar in their personalities as well as their young adult struggles, it is important to lean on family members for support in times of

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