2011 Ap Exam Question #1

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In the poem “A Story” by Li-Young Lee, the poem reveals the complex nature between father and son through the son’s yearning for a story. Lee uses several literary devices and emotional demands to highlight the different perspectives between father and son over time. With point of view and structure being used, Lee creates the emotion that a father and son share, the innocence it brings, and how this bond between father and son changes with time.

In several parts of the poem, Lee uses point of view to show the variances between the father and his son, and the separation that is present between them. The father’s five-year-old son has a request for a story. From the son’s perspective, his father is known as his storyteller, but the father’s longing to keep entertaining his son has vanished when he cannot come up with a new story. When the father “rubs his chin” and “scratches his ear”, he thinks that his son will give up on him. Lee uses these emotions to differentiate between the son’s happy demand for a story and his father’s reply, a reply that shows implications in their relationship.

Throughout the poem, Lee also uses a shifting point of view. During the poem, the father cannot remember a new story to tell his son. With this, the father starts to think of the upsetting idea that his son will be “packing his shirts…” and leaving. The father then yells and tries to give an explanation for his quietness. This reaction shows the father’s fear of his son leaving and losing him to time. The father’s view of his son leaving involves a plea to tell him one more story and to not leave. This contrast of the father, a man that forgot a new story and the parent in love with his child, makes for a better understanding of the deep relationship the father has with his son.

Lee’s use of diction also allows for the growth of the father and son and their relationship. The boy’s childlike “Baba” differs from the representation of him “packing his shirts” while his...
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