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To Da-duh, in Memoriam by Paule Marshall

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To Da-duh, in Memoriam

Have you ever read a poem that has complicated symbolism and descriptions? These things make this short story a great story. Paule Marshall, the author, uses an interesting point of view, tone or dialect, and symbolism to create a feeling of competition between the two main characters in the story “To Da-duh, in Memoriam”.

The story is told by the nine-year-old version of the narrator. As a little girl, she doesn’t see or think much about everything. When she sees Da-duh, her grandmother, for the first time, she sees a “small, purposeful, painfully erect” figure and a face that is “as stark and fleshless as a death mask”. As the story goes along, the reader starts to understand the competition between the narrator and her grandmother from the point of view and the eyes of the narrator.

As it is mentioned in the last paragraph, Da-duh and her granddaughter experience a competition in the story. The competition is about whose home is better, Da-duh’s home in Barbados Island or the narrator’s home in New York. Each argument starts from a simple thing, like “I know you don’t have anything like these in New York”. They both have strong will and heart; those feelings are shown in the dialogues they have during the narrator’s visit to Barbados from New York.

This story has a lot of adjectives and symbolism to form the reader’s picture of the people and the places. For example, when Da-duh starts to hear about New York from her granddaughter, the author writes, “I came to know the signs of her surrender: the total stillness that would come over her little hard dry form, the probing gaze that like a surgeon’s knife sought to cut through my skull to get at the images there, to see if I were lying; above all, her fear, a fear nameless and profound, the same one I had felt beating in the palm of her hand that day in the lorry”. This is a pretty long and complicated sentence, but it’s filled with adjectives so that the reader can have a better feeling to the story.

In “To Da-duh” story, the author uses a child’s point of view in explaining the tone and the mood in the story. The tone in every dialogue in the story shows a competition and love of each person’s home. In the end, an irony is shown when the narrator gets a house in a loft above a noisy factory with machines sounds that her grandmother was pretty afraid about. Within this irony, Paule Marshall ends the story with a sad and love feeling between the narrator and Da-duh.





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Aug. 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm
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