Point of View: To Da-duh, in Memoriam

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Point of View
‘‘To Da-duh, in Memoriam’’ is written from the first-person point of view. The majority of the story is viewed through the child narrator’s eyes. She recalls when she first met Da-duh, her first impression of the sugar cane fields, and the rivalry that exists between the two family members. Hers is the only voice the reader hears, and hers are the only eyes through which the reader sees Barbados and Da-duh. Thus the rivalry—and both participants’ reaction to it—is only explained as a nine-year-old child might have seen, or an adult looking back at the nine-year-old child that she was. At the end of the story, the narrator pulls back even further from the events that form the bulk of the story. Her narration of what happens after she and her family leave Barbados—the riots, the planes flying over the island, and her grandmother’s death—are told from the point of view of an adult looking back at something that has happened a great distance and time away. The point of view is also less personal, more factual. The story’s final paragraph, though still firmly within the narrator’s point of view, shows the narrator’s close ties to the past and the story she has related. She reveals the lasting guilt she has felt about showing up her grandmother and making her feel inferior. She also reveals the ties she feels to her past and to her ancestry, of which Daduh remains the most potent symbol. Autobiography

In her introduction to ‘‘To Da-duh, in Memoriam’’ when it was collected in Reena, and Other Stories, Marshall writes, ‘‘This is the most autobiographical of the stories, a reminiscence largely of a visit I paid to my grandmother (whose nickname was Da-duh) on the island of Barbados.’’ She goes on to explore the feelings that she and Da-duh experienced that year, as she recalls them from a distance. However, Marshall also acknowledges that later she tried to give a ‘‘wider meaning’’ to their rivalrous but affectionate relationship. ‘‘I wanted the...
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