I Stand Here Ironing

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  • She was a child seldom smiled at. Her father left me before she was a year old. I had to work her first six years when there was work, or I sent her home and to his relatives.
  • Emily's childhood lacked those characteristics which define a childhood, something made even more clear by her sister's upbringing, and her stays at a convalescent home and her father's relative. This is all unchangeable, though her Emily's Mother may wish otherwise
  • Theme 1: Past is unchangeable
  • Theme 2: Burdens of Motherhood
  • She was a miracle to me, but when she was eight months old I had to leave her day times with the woman downstairs to whom she was no miracle at all, for I worked or looked for work and for Emily's father who "could no longer endure sharing want with us."
  • Theme 3: People can change
  • Let her be. So all that is in her will not bloom- but in how many does it? there is still enough left to live by. Only Help her to know- help make it so there is cause for her to know- that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron.
  • Each visit she looked frailer. "she isn't eating," they told us. It took us eight months to get her released home...
  • Twice, and only twice when I had to get up for Susan anyhow, I went to sit with her.
  • Though the story is about Emily, her mother's struggles are quite clear; living in poverty, working long days, and not being enough for her first child
  • The turning point for Emily was her school's Amateur show, she changed into a talented young woman.
  • APPLAUSE!
  • One Morning she phoned me at work, hardly understandable through weeping: "Mother, I did it I won; they gave me first prize; they clapped and clapped and wouldn't let me go."
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