Conversation with My Father by Grace Paley

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The woman that the daughter has chosen as her protagonist is a single mother in New York City with an adolescent son who has become a junkie. The first query that her old father makes about the protagonist is about the legitimacy of the child (son). He questions, Doesn’t anyone in your stories gets married? Doesn’t anyone have the time to run down to city hall before they jump to bed (Paley)? To that, the daughter replies No she further states In real life, yes. But in my stories, no. (Paley) Thus from the beginning, the generation gap between the father and the daughter is quite evident. They not only have a different approach to their preferred literary styles but also to marriage itself. Paley follows a style, which is typical of her and where the story does not moralize but in a simple fashion unravels a lot of truths around us. The storytelling brings out gaps between generations and time that are reflected in terms of literary preferences as well as lifestyles. The setting is simple and domestic but the story narrated within the story essentially points towards the busy life of New York City epitomizing modernization and liberalization of the gender barrier. The setting supports the theme of neo-feminism and generation differences brought out by the author.
The daughter goes on to assert her lack of respect for marriage even further by saying Marriage or not it is of small consequence. (Paley) To that her frail father protests vehemently. He thinks her daughter is yet to come to terms with real life in which character is of prime importance. His conception of character is a sanctified character that lives according to old social norms of morality and legitimacy. The daughter fails to convince her that the world has lost its old glory and there has been a gradual metamorphosis of social values as well as individual prerogatives for modern women.