Tone In Tillie Olson's I Stand Here Ironing

792 Words4 Pages
Critical reading is far from an individual endeavor. Our consciousness is not one being, it is many, each with a different voice, tone, you might say. Depending on what you are reading a different member of the consciousness team is articulating it to your brain for interpretation. As authors write they have a specific goal to speak directly to one of those muses in our head, we interpret this selection as the authors tone. In the end, what we perceive as tone is really the author’s attitude towards the readers. A different tone can completely change the message the author wants to convey to the reader. Tillie Olson, in her short story, I Stand Here Ironing, has become proficient in the art of speaking to specific nodes of our consciousness.…show more content…
In a way the mother seems prepared for these inquiries and responds quickly with, “"Who needs help:' ... Even if I came, what good would it do? You think because I am her mother I have a key, or that in some way you could use me as a key?” This is a pretty pessimistic and empty response, almost like the mother feels bad for herself, or even that she is ashamed of herself. Her tone seems to emulate the fact that she has a key role in why her daughter, Emily, needs helping in the first place. Later in the story the mother tells of how Emily always had an excuse to stay home, “I think of our others in their three-, four-year-oldness--the explosions, tempers, the denunciations, the demands--and I feel suddenly ill. I put the iron down. What in me demanded that goodness in her? And what was the cost, the cost to her of such goodness?” At thing point it is clear to see what attitude the mother is trying to convey to the audience, she is ashamed and desperately wants her readers to reconsider how their raise their own children. Her tone is filled with honesty, but it’s also filled with crushing

    More about Tone In Tillie Olson's I Stand Here Ironing

      Open Document