Tell Me a Riddle

“…A Child of her Age, of Depression, of War, of Fear… ”: A Psychoanalytic Analysis of Emily in “I Stand Here Ironing” College

There are cases where parents can have tumultuous relationships with their children. In such cases the parents fail to understand their children’s needs. At times it becomes too late to remedy the relationship. Tillie Olsen’s short story explores the turbulent relationship between a mother and her daughter (Emily); the relationship is troubled from the time Emily eight months and it persists to the time she is nineteen years. The short story includes psychological indicators of depression and anxiety in children; a psychoanalytic analysis of Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” expounds the implications of the repression childhood experiences, denial and displacement on personality.Emily’s father rejects her when she is a young man. The narrator recalls about “Emily's father, who "could no longer endure" (he wrote in his goodbye note) "sharing want with us.” Emily’s father abandons her emotionally and physically. The emotional abandonment makes Emily to develop the fear of abandonment because she is afraid that her mother will abandon her. The narrator recalls “when she saw me she would break into a clogged weeping that could not be comforted, a weeping I can hear yet. ”Emily cries after her nineteen year old mother comes from...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1506 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10491 literature essays, 2648 sample college application essays, 555 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in