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Overview of the Movies Smoke Signals and I Stand Here Ironing

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It is upon this foundation that the mother begins to recall the childhood of her daughter who is now a nineteen-year-old woman. It is made abundantly clear that the mother I actuality has very little control over her daughter and feels underappreciated though she does still have strong feelings. It is only through a gradual process does the reader come to learn that her daughter had a childhood full of poverty where the narrator identifies that she was, in fact, nineteen years old when she gave birth to Emily. Both the narrator and Emily suffer from abandonment issues owing to the husband/father abandoning the young pair. It is at this point that the narrator leaves the child with the husband’s family further presenting abandonment issues for Emily who ultimately was sent to a sanitarium.

In the film “Smoke Signals” one finds a tale between two young men, Thomas, and Victor who share the same father figure named Arnold. Victor is the actual son of Arnold and Thomas was saved by Arnold from a burning house which took the lives of his birth parents. It becomes apparent that Thomas idolizes Arnold as a savior and Victor views Arnold through a very critical lens. After Arnold dies the two men must travel across the country to retrieve his ashes and it is upon this foundation that the two men make begin to vent their frustrations and come to grips with their true feelings regarding their father figure ultimately dealing with issues of abandonment, alcoholism and the true origin of the fire that took the life of Thomas’s parents (Arnold started the fire by accident with a firecracker). The film culminates with Victor becoming more compassionate towards his father and his situation whereas Thomas reasserts his deep admiration of Arnold.

From the outset, the comparisons between the film and the short story are very clear. Both mediums deal with issues of abandonment insofar as Emily, Thomas and Victor all feel abandoned by some character. Secondly, in both stories, poverty of the main characters is a central theme. Both mediums incorporate monologues as a means of conveying messages, where “I Stand Here Ironing” presents its story directly through a written monologue and the character Thomas utilizes the native oral tradition of storytelling. In the story, ‘Ironing’ comes to represent the actual ironing out of differences between the mother and daughter character, and in Smoke signals, it is the journey that proves to be the catalyst for the young men coming to resolve issues.

In terms of contrasts, it is the case that both pieces happen to center around different, time periods, timeframes and deal with very different characters. However, it still remains that the themes are very similar.

In regards to personal opinions, I believe that the film and the story were very enjoyable. I found that with all characters in both mediums venting their frustrations is a very important message and is carried out seamlessly.