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Discuss the narrative strategies used by Grace Paley in 'Conversation with my father' to represent the relationship between the narrator and his/her parent, and comment on their effectiveness.

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  • Essay length: 3109 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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University Degree Literary Criticism

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Discuss the narrative strategies used by Grace Paley in 'Conversation with my father' to represent the relationship between the narrator and his/her parent, and comment on their effectiveness.

In a 'Conversation with my father' Paley vividly presents a tragic scene of a dying father engaging with his son or daughter at his bedside and his wish to be told a story "just once more". Paley makes great use of varying narrative strategies to develop the representation of the relationship of the father and child. Through scrupulous use of discourse, dialogue, setting and narrative style and structure I think she successfully portrays the intimate yet difficult relationship shown.

The first significant thing we notice is that Paley chooses to narrate her story in the genre of the short story. One of the main generic features of the genre is to juxtapose stories within a frame narrative. This is all too evident in 'Conversation with my father' where the narration of the relationships of two sets of parents and children using an embedded story is central to the text. The frame narrative is chronological and is intermitted with a second and third story. The irony in this story is that

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