A Story by Li-Young Lee Analysis

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A Story

Sad is the man who is asked for a story
and can't come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap.
Not the same story, Baba. A new one.
The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a world of stories,
he can recall
not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy
will give up on his father.

Already the man lives far ahead, he sees
the day this boy will go. Don't go!
Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!
You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.
Let me tell it!

But the boy is packing his shirts,
he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,
the man screams, that I sit mute before you?
Am I a god that I should never disappoint?

But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?
It is an emotional rather than logical equation,
an earthly rather than heavenly one,
which posits that a boy's supplications
and a father's love add up to silence.

Li-Young Lee

The first stanza is rather sad, with the ‘sad man’ being the father who cannot come up with a new story. The second stanza turns to be very happy and loving. The ‘five year old boy’ asks his ‘Baba’ to tell him “not the same story” but a “new one.” The third stanza sets the change for the fourth stanza which is anxious, desperate and pleading. The father who is felling almost abandoned is begging his son not to go, to “Let me tell it!” ‘it’ being the story. By the last stanza the narrator is again in third person (the father) and he is feeling emotional “It is and emotional rather than logical equation” This show the fathers love for his son. He says that his son “posits” (to put forward or ask) in a “supplications” manner (humbly) which makes the “father’s love add up to silence.” This means the he is lost for words. He is so overwhelmed by his love for his son that he is speechless thus leaving his “love [to] add up to silence”
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