This caused the distance between the mother and Emily to become greater, even tothe point that Emily does not like physical affection such as hugs from hermother. The mother loves her daughter greatly, but she does not have the meansof providing for her child as she would like to. As there are other children andhusbands added to the family, Emily seems to move farther from them all. As Emily grows older, the mother is regretful of the way Emily has grown up. The mother says, We were poor and could not afford for her the soil of easygrowth (pg 29). The mother criticizes and blames herself for this, causingtension in their already stressful relationship.
The mother is obviouslysuffering from guilt and wretched memories of Emily suffering. Emily, too, issuffering. We see her stiffness towards all that care for her, her quietness inher daily duities, and her feelings of worthlessness towards herself. She feelsthat she is extremely ugly and stupid, and constantly compares herself to heradorable younger sister, Susan, who has the perfect Shirley Temple image.
This is why, in the beginning of the story, someone who cares about Emily, isasking her mother how he/she can help Emily. And, as the mother stands thereironing, she contemplates her daughter and the troubles that they have. Theconstant motion of the ironing is like a sedative to the mother, as it calms hergreatly. Because ironing is such a monotonous job, the mother has time to thinkher disturbing thoughts. Thus, the theme of coming to terms with and overcomingthe past hardships emerges.
Personally, I have a hard time relating to the whole story. I can understand,but I cant really internalize them. I suppose that it just is an example of abasic dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. The story does a good job ofshowing a mothers anguish over her daughter, and a depressed teenager who isstruggling to overcome her unhappy childhood.-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-