Conversation with My Father

Topics: Narrative, Fiction, Short story Pages: 3 (865 words) Published: September 8, 2011
A Conversation with My Father, by Grace Paley This is a story about storytelling. The narrator, a writer and her aged, ill father are discussing the narrator's style of story writing. The Protagonist in the story is the narrator. After reading the story, no gender is given of the narrator, only assuming by the tone of the story to be a female. The other major character in the story is the narrator sick aging antagonist father, who seems to be on his death bed. Throughout the story, Paley plays on the story theme of the way real life should be represented in fiction. The major conflict between the two resides in their different experiences of life, and therefore, different expectations for fiction points of view. Paley shows us the father knows he is dying and has a grim look on life, while the narrator is still young and full of life giving her a very hopeful point of view. “A Conversation with My Father” recounts a discussion between the daughter who is the narrator, and her bedridden father, who is eighty-six year old intelligent, yet sick and dying. While the narrator visits her father, the father makes a request and wants his daughter, the narrator to tell a story that is simple, "Just recognizable people and then write down what happened to them next. It seems “ The narrator doesn't like telling stories that takes all hope away”. To the narrator “Everyone is real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life." Because she wants to please her father, the narrator agrees, and tells a short story no longer than a one-paragraph tale about a woman and her teenage son, both heroin’s addict users, who live in Manhattan. The son later quits, but his mother cannot kick the habit. Her son abandons her and she is left alone in the city. The narrator father immediately rejects the story. The father tells his daughter that she misunderstood him on purpose. To the father, he claims and believes that she left out all the important details, such as descriptions,...

Cited: Paley, Grace. A Conversation With my Father. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 9th ed. Eds. Allison Booth, J. Paul Hunter, Kelly J. Mays. New York, 2005. 31-34
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