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What was Emily seeking from her mother in "I Stand Here Ironing"? What did Emily's mother fail to provide her? |

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Emily's mother failed, through no fault of her own, to provide Emily with the bonding, attention, and support babies and children need. They were separated for long periods of time, and Emily finally stopped allowing her mother to comfort her. The mother wasn't there to tell Emily she was pretty when she felt she didn't look like she was supposed to. While growing into a young woman, Emily had to forego her own childhood and help her mother with the younger children. This is why Emily so enjoys the applause of the audience when she acts. She's finally getting approval from someone, but she feels they are applauding her not as Emily, but as the someone else she's pretending to be. Emily is searching for her identity through her talents.

Emily wanted love, support, and attention from her mother. I like to think that Emily knows her mother has always loved her and will come to the realization that her mother did the best she could at the time. 

 

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