As I Stand Here Ironing Analysis

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It has been said by social critics that a society based on class differences, on differences in wealth and power among people and groups is destructive of basic human values. The theme of money and work is that money and power have more value than the actual act of work. It does not matter how much one works but how much power they truly have because of money. Due to this it creates a force of destruction of human values that one should have. The lack of these basic human values such as Recognition, Family and Fairness are shown in the literary works that showcase how they destroy human values.

Recognition is the act of being acknowledged of ones work and given credit for it. In the works of Bertolt Brecht “A Worker Reads History” and Studs
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In the works of “Women on the Breadlines” by Meridel LeSeur and “As I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen we see that the human value of Family is destroyed. “Women on the Breadlines” is about a group of women in an unemployment office seeking work after the great depression to care for their families. “As I Stand Here Ironing” is about a mother who had to give her first daughter away for a while to be taken care of while the mother looked for stable work to look after her family. “After a while I found a job hashing at night so I could be with her days, and it was better. But it came to where I had to bring her to his family and leave her” (Olsen 589). The mother could not properly care for her child the way she wanted to and give her the family and love the daughter needed. So she gives her child to the father’s family to be raised so she can find an adequate job to be able to get her daughter back. A mother giving up her child so that the child can be cared for by another destroys the human value of a family for the mother. The mother no longer has the child because the poverty has taken power and disabled her to care for the child properly. “When she finally came, I hardly knew her , walking quickly and nervous like her father … All the baby loveliness gone” (Olsen 589). When the mother receives the child back the child has aged by two years and has changed emotionally as well. The …show more content…
In the works of “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara and “Assembly Line” by B. Traven we see that the human value of fairness is destroyed. In “Assembly Line” there is an Indian whose hobby is to make woven baskets with decorations such as butterflies, flowers and animals. He is offered by an American Man named Winthrop to buy a large amount of baskets from him. “He had little if any knowledge of the outside world or he would have known that what happened to him was happening every hour of every day to every artist all around the world” (Traven 626). The Indian does not know the exploitation of artists all around the world. He had no knowledge except what he sees within his home and town. “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara is about a group of children probably from Harlem on a field trip with an older college educated woman named Miss Moore. Miss Moore exposes the children to FAO Schwarz a toy store in a wealthy neighborhood uptown. By exposing the children to the expensive toys she is bracing them for the reality of inequality. One of the children speaks and says “That is not much of a democracy if you ask me, equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack at the dough, don’t I” (Bambara 653). She is expressing that she understands that it is not fair to receive an equal chance to receive money. She is grasping the lesson that Miss Moore is teaching them about the lack of fairness they are receiving.

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