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Analysis of “A Story” By Li-Young-Lee



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    A child has many interactions with different people throughout his/her life. A child learns to protect his siblings, to respect his mother, and to look up to his father. However, depending on what has happened between the child and the other person. In the poem “A Story” by poet Li-Young-Lee, he uses the third person point of view and structure of the poem to define the complex relationship of a son and his father. Children are known for becoming entertained very quickly as well as getting bored easily. Sad is the man who is asked for a story/and can’t come up with one. ”(1-2) This perspective is not the man’s but an outsider’s who has experienced this situation and can tell about it. As “his five year old waits in his lap”(3) it becomes clear that the father cannot come up with any new stories to tell his excited son. “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. ”(6-9) These lines are extremely significant because they are the thought of the father.

    By using the third person-limited point of view, readers can see how the dad feels. He is annoyed with himself for letting his son down, and he feels like he might continue to fall short of his son’s expectations. Lee did this to show how a dad feels when it comes down to his son. He feels that he has to do everything right in order for his son to be a productive citizen. The structure of the poem “A Story” is very significant to its meaning. This free- verse poem has neither regular meter nor rhyme scheme.

    However, the dialogue of the thoughts of the man and of his son is italicized. For example, “Not the same story, Baba. A new one. ”(4) This is what the dad imagines his son is saying. The child is tired of the same old stories and expects his daddy to come up with a story on the spot. On the other hand, the father is having thought of the future when his son is “looking for his car keys. ” This shows that the dad is afraid to let go of his son, even though the boy is only five years old.

    Line eighteen reveals the universal thought of any human being: “Am I a god that I should never disappoint? ” This thought being italicized really puts emphasis on the structure of the poem. The poem format is not in a certain way, yet the specific details that make up the structure of the poem are what make it unique in its theme. Because of the effective use of point of view and structure, Lee successfully demonstrates the complex relationship between a father and his son.

    Analysis of “A Story” By Li-Young-Lee. (2017, Jan 18). Retrieved from

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