Discussion For Paley’s “A Conversation With My Father”

Discussion for Paley’s “A Conversation with My Father”

Although Grace Paley has done much work for the feminist political movement, as a writer, she is best known for her use of a postmodernist literary technique of “metafiction.” Metafiction is the writing of stories that are about the art of writing stories. However, unlike other practitioners of metafiction who get caught up in the aesthetics of this technique, Paley uses this technique to discuss social and metaphysical issues that confront all of us. The issue that “A Conversation with My Father” explores is the nature of human freedom: Is human freedom an illusion in which we all believe much like how we believe the illusions offered to us by fictional stories? Can we construct our lives in the same way that an author can construct a character or a story?

1. Is human freedom an illusion in which we all believe much like how we believe the illusions offered to us by fictional stories? How does the narrator answer this question? (1 passage) How does the father answer this question? (1 passage)

2. Can we construct our lives in the same way that an author can construct a character or a story? How does the narrator answer this question? (1 passage) How does the father answer this question? (1 passage)

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