The Mother-Daughter Relationship In

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The Mother-Daughter Relationship In “I Stand Here Ironing” Essay, Research Paper The mother-daughter relationship in “I Stand Here Ironing” To many people, the ideal mother-daughter relationship is not like the one we find in this short story. In this case, however, its not being an ideal relationship is not the fault of the mother or daughter. Through her own relative thoughts, the mother illustrates the circumstances of the relationship that evolved with her daughter. Despite the mother’s self incriminating thoughts, the dents in the mold of their mother-daughter relationship were made by the tough circumstances in their lives. From the beginning we hear the mother’s self inculpating thoughts of all she ”did or did not do.” Emily is born into an

unfortunate surrounding and, at the early age of eight months, her mother must leave her in the care of a woman whom Emily doesn’t favor. The mother blames herself for her daughter’s unhappiness and yet unknowingly justifies her actions with the immense love that she has for her. She recognizes that she was not able to be with her daughter at a time when young children want to cling to their mothers the most. But what else could she do? As she states, this was a time of the “pre-relief, pre-WPA world of the depression(152).” When she was away from Emily, she was working for her. She even found a job at night so she could be with Emily during the days. The mother was doing her best to work around the circumstances with Emily’s best interest in mind, even at the cost of a

slight dent in their own relationship by her being away from Emily so much. At another crucial stage in Emily’s life, when the second baby is born, she is kept away from both her mother and the new baby. With the obvious immense attention that is required to the newborn, it is important for Emily to be reassured of her mothers love to prevent feelings of replacement and jealousy. This time the separation of mother and daughter is caused by the measles, an occurrence in life that no one can prevent. Still, the mother torments herself on the thoughts that she only went to sit with Emily twice. Granted that twice was not very much, the more she came in contact with Emily, the greater risk of endangering the life of Emily’s sibling. Here is when Emily begins to slowly adjust to

the absence of her mothers physical affection. When Emily is sent away to a convalescent home in the country so she can have the “‘kind of food and care(154)’” her mother cannot provide for her, her adjustment to the absence of physical warmth from her mother is finalized. Emily and her mother write letters to each other every other day and on sundays are able to see each other. But, there is never any sort of touching. Because of the strict rules of this place where she is at, Emily is subjected to conform with the letters and weekly visits from her mother as the only form of nurture from her mother. By the time the mother is able to be close to her daughter again, she isn’t accepted with open arms. She rushes to Emily’s bedside at any slight sound of restlessness

coming from there. Instead of accepting her mothers nurturing, Emily coldly responds,”’I’m all right, go back to sleep, Mother(154)’”. It is too late. Emily no longer yearns for the touch or comfort of her mother. Another dent has been made in their relationship by a difficult circumstance in life of which they have to deal with. Aside the mothers condemning thoughts, Emily’s relationship with her evolved into a rather cold, yet not distant one, as a result of these incidents. Although the presence and touch was not always there in their relationship, communication clearly was.