A Story by Li-Young Lee presents an affectionate relationship between a father and his son, both of them searching for the right words to say to one another. The father worries that he has exhausted his supply of interesting stories and frantically pines for something, anything that will keep his son interested. He realizes that his son will eventually grow up and lose the cheerful admiration with which he looks at his father now. Through the use of literary techniques, Lee builds up the internal conflict of the father and his desperation to be his son’s hero while the position is still available.
The point of view switches intermittently throughout the poem between an omniscient narrator, the father, and his son. The narrator provides a comprehensive outlook on the scene, and tells most of the plot in a detached and observant manner. As the viewpoint switches to the father, the depth of his despondency is ed. When he anticipates what the future will hold for himself and his son, he cannot think of any other stories but the ones he has already told, and cries “Don’t go!...Let me tell it,” hopelessly searching for a reason his son should not leave him. Lines 16-18 exhibit the anguish he feels because he cannot live up to the standards he believes his son holds for him. The son’s perspective is only shown twice, both times with a plea for a new story. At a young age, the child looks to his father as a provider of endless knowledge and joy, but will his attention still last when he grows older and finds new sources of entertainment? Both characters are in distress, and the father’s pain is a result of his son’s constant search for happiness.
Each stanza of the poem presents a separate topic, but all correspond to the theme of distress. The first two lines present the thesis, and are supported by the details of each following stanza. The father’s slight consternation, shown by his nervous movements in line 5, evolves into a panic of agony by the 4th...
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