By any estimation, Tillie Olsen was hardly a prolific writer. Indeed, her entire literary reputation stands on 5 published short stories, a book of essays and an unfinished novel. Yet few writers have done more to evolve the form of the short story, or inspired the devotion that Olsen has from the next generation of women writers. In her review of Silences in the New York Times Book Review, Margaret Atwood argued,

Among women writers in the United States, ‘respect’ is too pale a word: ‘reverence’ is more like it. This is presumably because women writers, even more than their male counterparts, recognize what a heroic feat it is to have held down a job, raised four children and still managed …
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Hoofard, Jennifer. "Tillie Olsen". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 December 2008
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]