A CONVERSATION WITH MY FATHER
- 1. What kind of story did Grace Paley write twice and relate to her father? Or What objections did the writer’s father raise to her stories?
Or What were the reactions of her father to her stories?
Grace Paley was young story writer. She had her own technique of writing stories. Her father of eighty six, had his own concept of writing stories. He had been a doctor as well as an artist. He was very much impressed by Guy De Maupassant, Chekhov and Turgenev. Her father asked her to write a story. She wrote a story and related it to him. It started as such: “Once in my time there was a woman and she had a son.” The woman lived in a small apartment in Manhatten (America). Her son became an addict, but after some time he left this habit. Then he went away leaving her. But soon she became an addict.”
The writer’s father found fault with the story as it lacked necessary details. He wanted such a story as had persons of strong and solid character. He asked her to elaborate “Her looks”, “Her hair”, “What her parents were like?”, “What about the boy’s father?” “Why didn’t you mention him?” She was perturbed by such questions. He wanted a story to be realistic and in detail with proper beginning, middle and ending.
The writer wrote the story for the second time and related it to him. Now she wrote in more detail. The boy was shown falling in love with a girl. The boy and the girl both left the boy’s mother saying that she must give up her habit of drugs. She missed her son much and cried in pain. The writer’s father was still not satisfied with the story for he was demanding, irritating and family-orientated. 265
- 2. How does the story depict the generation gap?
OR Relate the conversation between the writer and her father about the art of story writing.
Or Why did the writer’s father object to her stories?
The story depicts the gap between the old and new generations. There are only two characters in the story: Grace Paley, the young writer and her eighty six year old father. Every generation has its own principles and values and it sticks to them. The older people are very touchy about their values and traditions. They never budge an inch from their stand.
The writer’s father had been a doctor and an artist. He had read the stories of Maupa-ssant, Chekhov, Turgenev and other writers of 19th century. That is why he asks her daughter to write realistic stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. He asks her to create persons of sound character. He does not like her plain stories.
She writes the story of a woman and her son, who goes addict and then she too turns addict. He rejects her story and asks her to write it in detail with a proper background. She modifies but even then it is not up to his expectations.
The writer has her own principles, technique and taste. The two cannot agree, because they live in different worlds. They have different attitudes about life as well as writing.
The writer cannot incorporate the literary values of both the old and new generation. She cannot write in the sensibility of her father’s times. Thus she fails to come up to the expectations of her father
The writer’s father is demanding and irritating. During his days the things were nice, family-orientated and clear; but now the things have changed. Now they are complex and depressing.