Sunday, 29 May 2016

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories A Conversation with My Father (Grace Paley) Summary and Question Answers

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories A Conversation with My Father (Grace Paley) Summary and Question Answers


Summary

This story introduces two generations in terms of writer and her father. The writer represents the new generation and her father represents the old generation. As the story proceeds, we learn that there is a difference of opinion between the approaches of both the characters defending two different generations. We notice a lack of willingness in both characters to accept the idea of reality interpreted by their own observations and exposures. This surely creates a generation gap that is apparent in the story. Her father is of quite an excessive age a heart patient.
The practical existence of this generation gap is more obvious when her father asks her to write a story like Russian writers used to write. The writer doesn't like telling stories that way because "it takes all hope away. Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life."
Even then she tries her best to write a simple and plain story to follow Russian writers.
It is a true story about writer’s neighbour woman who lives with her son happily until her son falls into a bad habit of drugs. She starts to use drugs as she thinks this will help her to be closer to her son. The son gives up drugs later and leaves the city and her mother behind.
But this is not what the father had in mind at all. "You misunderstood me on purpose . . .” You left everything out." The father asks the writer questions, attempting to fill in details of the story that he believes are important. The writer agrees to tell the story again.
Her father again puts up objections when she writes second version of story after totally changing it to satisfy her father. He tells her that her story lacks the reality and she should learn to write about reality. He considers that a character becomes weak if it is changed and it can not survive for long period of time. So she again fails to please her father even after writing a totally changed story.



Question Answers


Q 1. Discuss the generation gap in the story “A Conversation with My Father”. OR What is the conflict between the father and the daughter?
Ans. Generation gap holds the central importance in this story. Both writer and her father hare holding on to their own beliefs about reality. They have their own separate meanings and interpretations of reality and its nature. Element of rigidity is also found to a great deal in the story; both of the characters are not willing to accept that they are wrong at some points. No one is ready to see the things from a neutral point of view. This is the major conflict in the story between two persons.
For her father, the life is very simple and family is an important part of life. He believes that marriage is a relation that makes a life complete and beautiful. He thinks that a character loses its recognition if we change the natural attributes of that character. He is fond of the stories that end in a satisfactory and agreeable way because he has his own definition about reality. Writer’s approach to reality is immature and lacks seriousness in front of her father. In his opinion, young generation is reluctant to see, understand and face reality as it is and he is not going to accept young generation’s point of view.
Young generation looks at life in its own way, youth takes life as versatile and variable phenomena. For them, life is incomplete and there is always a space for improvement and every person can change with time and circumstances. It is not as easy as old generation thinks it is. Life is unhopeful, complicated and discouraging. Young generation holds a totally different opinion about family; they believe that married life is not important and it is personal choice whether to get married or not. We learn that both of the characters are firm on their point of view and not willing to accept other school of thought. They are inflexible and unbending as far as their observation and judgment is concerned.

Q 2. Why writer Grace Paley fails to write a story according to expectation of her father? OR Describe he reason why writer is not successful in writing a story to satisfy her father’s expectations?
Ans. The writer and her father are enjoying very happy and respectable relation. She tries her best to keep her father happy and not to go against his wishes or desires. Even in story writing, she tries to write a story according to her father’s expectations. She does not argue with her father even when there is a chance of argument. She writes a simple story to please her father but fails.
This is because of generation gap because writer belongs to young generation that thinks life story never ends and it is always depressing and disappointing. She believes in change, a change in character and his life.
She does not like the stories that start in a conventional way, she believes in open choices for a character. Therefore, we can conclude that the daughter has great love and care for her father. However, she cannot write a simple story for him. She has sensibilities of her own times. She is rigid and is not ready to accept what is wrong to her.

Q 3. What was the first version of the story written by the writer and what were her father’s objections?
Ans. The writer’s father asked her to write a simple story for him. The writer did like to write a simple story, but she wrote a story just to please him. It was a true story. It was about a woman who was a neighbor of the writer.
This woman had a son and they both lived nicely in a small apartment in Manhattan. Her son became a drug addict at the age of fifteen. It was not usual in that area. She also became a drug addict just to have a close contact with her son. However, for a number of reasons her son gave up drugs and left the city and her in disgust. Now the woman was hopeless and alone. The writer went to see her.
The writer’s father did not like the story and he raised many objections. Firstly, he said that she had not written the story according to his wishes. She misunderstood him on purpose. Secondly, she had left everything out. Thirdly, she had not written the story according to the Russian writers who could write a plain, ordinary story. She had not written the story for ordinary people.
Fourthly, she had not told about the physical appearance of the woman and about her hair. Fifthly, she had not told about the parents of the woman. If she had told, it would have been possible to tell why she had become such a person. Sixthly, she had not told about her husband and whether her boy. He believed that the bond of marriage was very important. Therefore, these were the objections of the father to the first version of the story.

Q 4. What was the second version of the story written by the writer and what were her father’s objections?
Ans. The father of the writer raised some objections to the first version of the story and asked the writer to write the story again. Therefore, the writer wrote the story again. This time she added many things.
The story was about a woman. She had a son whom she loved very much. He became a drug addict in his adolescence. He was a writer and wrote articles in newspapers.  I order to keep a close contact; she also became a drug addict. However, in spite of that she took great care of her son. She kept many orange juice, honey, milk and vitamin pills at home.
Once her son went to a cinema where he met a girl because of the girl, he gave up drugs and started his normal life again. The son asked his mother to give up drugs, but she could not.  The son left her and went away. The mother was alone now and she wept for her son. The writer visited her.
The writers’ fatter did not like the second version of the story either. He raised several objections. Firstly, he ironically objected that she had nice sense of humor. Secondly, he objected that she could not tell a plain story. Thirdly, he objected to the end of the story. He did not like that, the woman was left alone, and she had no hope. Fourthly, he objected that the writer did not want to face the reality. He believed that no character could change. It was a joke to show that in a story. If there was any change, it could not last long. It was the only truth for him. Therefore, these were the objections of the writer to the second version of the story.


Q 5. What kind of story does the writer’s father want her to write?
Ans. The father of the writer of the story “A Conversation with My Father” asks her to write a simple story for hmm once more. The writer used to write simple stories.
He wants that the story should have all the good qualities of a simple story. Firstly, he likes the stories of the Russian writers, so he wants her daughter to write the story according to these writers. Secondly, the story should be written about the real, recognizable people. Thirdly the physical appearance of the characters should be given. The writer should tell even about the hair of the characters fourthly the background of the character must be given. In this way, it will be possible for the reader to find out why the character had become such a person.
Fifthly, the bond of marriage must be given a lot of importance in the stories. Sixthly, he believes that the sense of humor must be nice. The writer of the story should face the reality and should give a convincing end to the story. The end of the story must be finished. The characters in a story cannot change and the writer must not try to change them. It is a joke if a writer does therefore. According to him, such a story is against reality and it is not true. He believes that if a character changes it is only for the time being.
Therefore, the father wants her to write a story according to his own sensibility.

Q 6. Why does the writer not like to write a simple story about real and recognizable people?
Ans. The father of the writer of the story “A Conversation with My Father” asks her to write a simple story for him once more. From a simple story, he means such story as the famous Russian writers used to write. According to him these writer used to write simple stories about real and recognizable people.
However, the writer does not like to write a simple story because of certain reasons. She is a representative of the young generation. The young generation considers the life story unfinished, complex, and depressing. To them family life or bond of marriage is not important. They believe that every person can change. That is a truth to them. When her father does not agree, she says, “No Pa, it could really happen that way, it’s a funny world nowadays.”
The writer hates the stories that start with the sentence: “There was a ….” She does not hate such stories because of literary reasons, but because she thinks that, every person or character of a story should have the open destiny of life. She feels a kind of responsibility for the characters in this respect. She fully believes that every character can change with time.
Therefore, we can conclude that the daughter has great love and care for her father. However, she does not like to write a simple story. She has the sensibilities of her own time. She is rigid and is not ready to accept what is wrong to her.

Q 7. What is the theme of the story “A Conversation with My Father”?
Ans. The theme of the story “A Conversation with My Father” is the generation gap between the old and the young writers.
The father of the writer represents the old generation of writers. For him life is simple and family oriented. He values in marriage. He also believes that a character in a story has some individuality and it does not change. He believes that the life story of each character should have a reasonable end.
He has his own idea of reality. The reality presented by the writer is just a joke to him. He is not going to accept it. He also believes that evasion is a characteristic of the young generation. The young generation is not ready to look the truth in the face.
Whereas, the young generation consider the life story unfinished, complex, and depressing. To them family life or the bond of marriage is not important. They believe that every person can change. That is a truth to them. The writer hates the stories that start with the sentence: “There was a….”
She does not hate such stories because of literary reasons. She thinks that every person or character of a story should have the open destiny of life. She feels a kind of responsibility for the characters in this respect. She fully believes that every character can change with time.
Therefore, the theme of the story is the generation gap between the young and the old writers. We see that the daughter has great love and care for her father. However, she cannot write a simple story for him. Both have sensibilities of their own times. They are rigid and are not ready to accept what is wrong to them.

Written by: Asad Hussain

No comments:

Post a Comment

EasyHits4U.com - Your Free Traffic Exchange - 1:1 Exchange Ratio, 5-Tier Referral Program. FREE Advertising!