Narrative Techniques In I Stand Here Ironing

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Narrative and literary techniques are used within various forms of literature to help portray the author’s intentions and thoughts to the reader, specifically to give artistic and emotional effects to the story. These techniques such as style involve the use of metaphors, imagery, alliteration, symbolism and several more. Common techniques applicable to the plot of a story consist of various elements including flashbacks, flashforwards, and foreshadowing specific events. Literary techniques can offer the reader a greater understanding of situations within literature. Symbolism, flashbacks, and a rapid accumulation of short sentences can be found within Olsen’s passage, “I Stand Here Ironing,” to characterize the mother and her attitude toward …show more content…
The majority of Olsen’s passage uses this literary technique as the mother speaks in past tense throughout the story, occasionally speaking in present tense when she is not reflecting on her daughter’s life. Speaking in past tense and using this flashback literary technique shows the reader that the mother feels remorse for her actions toward her daughter. The mother often uses the phrase, “she was a beautiful baby” (18 and 35), pertaining to her daughter’s happiness and innocence when she was a child. These euphoric feelings have since been taken away with time as the mother was unable to make time to care for her. The mother resorts to these flashbacks as a way to escape the reality that she failed to provide for and raise her child in a positive …show more content…
The purpose of these sentences are to show the perpetual negativity that commonly took place within both the mother’s and Emily’s life. This sentence structure also conveys the innermost feelings of the mother, which are guilt for the state of her daughter’s mental wellbeing and the desperation to get all she has to say off her of chest. The short sentences and questions in this paragraph show that the mother's emotions are building and that she is having a difficult time reflecting on her life. These questions show she is struggling to understand her past and current situation, and that her mind is rambling as she states “why did you want me to come in at all?”(52). The mother constantly asks herself questions about her past because she is trying to figure out what happened between her and her daughter. The short sentences help evoke emotion within the reader so that they can understand what the mother is going through and truly feel her negative spirit struggling to find answers in her

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