A Story By Li-Young Lee Analysis

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Stories are the foundation of relationships. They represent the shared lessons, the memories, and the feelings between people. But often times, those stories are mistakenly left unspoken; often times, the weight of the impending future mutes the stories, and what remains is nothing more than self-destructive questions and emotions that “add up to silence” (Lee. 23). In “A Story” by Li-Young Lee, Lee uses economic imagery of the transient present and the inevitable and fear-igniting future, a third person omniscient point of view that shifts between the father’s and son’s perspective and between the present and future, and emotional diction to depict the undying love between a father and a son shadowed by the fear of change and to illuminate the damage caused by silence and the differences between childhood and adulthood perception.
“A Story” is essentially a pencil sketch of the juxtaposition between the father’s biggest fear and the beautiful present he is unable to enjoy. In the first few lines, Lee draws an image of a “five-year-old son [waiting to hear a story] on his [father’s] lap,”
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From beginning to end, the son calls his father “Baba” to show his affection and admiration. Despite the father’s inability to come up with a new story, the son still looks up to him. This affectionate term also contrasts with the father’s vision of the “boy packing his shirts [and] looking for his keys,” which accentuates the undying love between the father and son (15 & 16) . The father’s emotional “screams” also emphasize his fear of disappointing the son he loves so much (17). Despite the father’s agonizing visions, the son remains patient and continues to ask for a story, and their relationship remains “emotional” and “earthly”--nothing has changed (20-21). Their love, just like the father’s fear and silence,
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