A Story by Li-Young Lee Poem AP Lang Prompt

The poem “A Story” written be Li- Young Lee conveys the complex father and son relationship showing their connection through literary devices while the son is trying to get his father to tell another story. This poem is written in third person narrative by an ominous voice telling the fathers thought process. The narrator begins the poem saying, “Sad is the man who is asked for a story and can’t come up with one. ” This intro not only gives us a foreshadowing look onto the poem, but tells us the emotions the father feels given to us by the all knowing narrator.
He tells us the dad is sad that he can’t think of a new story which shows us that he just want to please his son and in turn portraying love. The structure in this poem gives us a feeling of the old man’s desperation to dig up another story first portraying his uncomfort, “The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear. ” His anxiousness escalates, “soon, he thinks, the boy will give up on his father. ” You see his attitude further rise when he says, “he sees the day this boy will go. Don’t go!”
Finally you see his desperation reach a high when he says, “Are you a god, the man screams, that I sit mute before you? ” The poem made you feel the desperation of the father through the structure because you could feel him getting more and more frustrated. This frustration in him not being able to satisfy his sons want for a new story gives us a picture of the love the father has for his child. A parent just wants to make their child happy and his anger when he cannot accomplish this show us that he has genuine love for the son.

In the concluding paragraph the poet makes a comparison saying, “It is an emotional rather than logical equation, an earthly rather than heavenly one, which posits that a boy’s supplications and a father’s love add up to silence. ” The contrast of the emotional and logical equations and the earthly and heavenly equations show us that this is not such a big deal after all. It is all in the fathers emotions. His love for his child is so great that he does not want to see him go.
He is haunted by the day he thinks his son will leave him and he does not want to let his son down because he thinks that will make his son leave. This fear of letting his son down is preventing him from thinking of a new story. That is why the equation at the end is the sons request plus the father’s love equals silence. This relationship shown through the use of literary devices is a natural one showing the parents undying love for the child.

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