In both writings, Tillie Olsen's I Stand Here Ironing and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, the plots center around the problems of a child. In "I Stand Here Ironing", Emily is a young girl affected negatively by her mother's lack of care and the time of cold war. Like Emily, in "Death of a Salesman", Biff is a young boy who is not well prepared to stand on his own feet in the life because of his father's inadequate advisories. .
In Death of a Salesman, Biff is a young, pessimist and a lazy person. Although he does not study for state's math exam and fails it, he does not attend to summer school. On the other hand, when he gets older, he describes himself as a nothing. "I"m one dollar an hour, Willy! I tried seven states and couldn't raise it. A buck an hour!" (1363). These words show how Biff is hopeless about his life.
Like, Biff, in I Stand Here Ironing, Emily is a young, pessimist and a little lazy girl. She always tries to run away from her responsibilities. For instance, when her mother asks her to study on her midterms she says "in a couple of years when we"ll all be atom-dead they won't madder a bit." (217) While Emily has the advantage of a contemporary upbringing, she is still vulnerable and fearful as an adult, as she was being a lonely, sick and unpopular child. "The doorbell sometimes rang for her, but no one seemed to come and play in house or be a best friend" (215). She, like her mother, seems to have a passive, almost pessimistic outlook on life and the future. .
The difference between two characters is the cause which makes them hopeless. The reason of Biff"'s situation is his father. Willy, Biff's father, spends his time with Biff, like his friend, however his advisories are very harmful. Biff learns from his father that to be well liked and attractive are the most important ingredients for success. Biff even echoes small bits of Willy's view of life when he says that Bernard "is liked but not well liked.