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To Da-Duh in Memoriam
Transcript of To Da-Duh in Memoriam
Young vs. Old
The narrator and Da-duh live in two different societies. The narrator lives young in a modern society where she has still much in her life to experience. This is opposed to the grandmother Da-duh who is elderly and has already experienced much of her life. The grandmother, having lived in a different time period then the narrator has had different experiences and has since grown accustomed to her way of living while the narrator has grown used to her own way of living.
Da-Duh vs. Society
Da-duh is stuck in the past as she continues to believe in Social Dominance Theory where white males are the most dominant and black females are the least dominant. She also disapproves of the progress of technology as it is foreign to her.
“Oh, the lord, the world’s changing up so I can scarce recognize it anymore.” (pg. 118)
How would you feel if the rest of the world suddenly became foreign to you?
The narrator travels to Barbados with her mother and sister where she meets her grandmother who she refers to as “Da-duh”. After meeting their relatives, Da-duh takes the narrator to a cane farm and introduces her to the island’s orchards where they grow exotic fruit. During the time she spends with her Da-duh, she experiences rural life and sees the vast vegetation found on the island. Through these experiences, the narrator begins to feel that her life has been lacking. However, it is when Da-duh inquires about the narrator’s life and the presence of snow, when the narrator begins to talk about how life is like in New York. One day, Da-duh shows the narrator the tallest palm tree on the island and is shocked to hear that there are buildings taller than it in New York. Thinking that the narrator is lying to her, Da-duh fills herself with rage until realizing that the narrator is telling the truth. Immediately after, Da-duh becomes weak and dispirited; her walks become shorter and she starts sleeping through the afternoons. When the narrator returns to New York, she sends Da-duh a postcard with a picture of the Empire State Building as she had previously promised. It is then that she learns that Da-Duh had passed away in the famous ’37 strike which had begun shortly after they left.
To Da-Duh in Memoriam
By Albert Wang and Brian Chim
Pride is an idea that is used to describe something that causes a person or people to be proud. With a negative connotation, pride refers to an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or another's choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging. Within the context of the story, pride was felt by both the narrator as well as Da-duh.
Point of View: First Person Retrospective
Characters: Narrator, Da-Duh
Setting: Barbados, 1930's
Mood: Pride, Fear, Depression
About the Author
“'No,' I said, my head bowed. 'We don't have anything like this in New York.'”
“'Ah,' she cried, her triumph complete. 'I din’ think so.'” (pg. 116)
Learning, the ability to acquire knowledge, is a prevalent theme within the story. As utilized in the story, learning is common to both the narrator as well as Da-duh. For both, having grown up in their different and separate lifestyles, they are both ignorant of each other's upbringing, environment and culture. As a result of this, when the narrator and Da-duh converse, the two have no knowledge of the other’s way of living. However, after spending time together, The two eventually become open to each other’s culture.
Do you think the story has an appropriate ending?
Narrator vs. Society
The narrator is missing much of Da-duh's life within her world. This is supported by the multiple times that the narrator responds “No” to Da-duh’s question of whether or not the narrator has those things in New York.
The narrator and Da-duh live in two different communities and as such carry two different views of the world. The narrator, living in an urban area is growing with a view of the world that all cultures are equal and technology is abundant. Da-duh, living in a rural area, has grown with a belief of a racial and gender hierarchy and that technology is lacking when compared to urban areas.
A round, static character, she is a 9-year old black girl who was born in New York. Despite not meeting her grandmother’s preferences, they got along very well and went on many walks together. She appears to be easily influenced and very impressionable as she felt that her life was lacking after Da-duh told her so.
A round and dynamic character, she is the narrator’s 80-year old grandmother. She has lived her whole life on the island of Barbados and is proud of her culture and lifestyle. She dislikes any form of technology and is seen to believe in stereotypes as she believes in the dominant white male.
Do you feel that it is important to know about your background/heritage?
Conflict in To Da-duh in Memoriam
Point of View
First Person Retrospective
To Da-Duh in Memoriam is told in a first person retrospective point of view. This is specifically evident in the first sentence of the story; “I did not see her at first I remember”. The story is told as the narrator is reminiscing in the memory of her late grandmother Da-duh. This point of view is significant because the narrator utilizes her maturity to explain the slow and slight changes in the grandmother’s behaviour which the narrator would not have noticed when she was a child.
“But as I answered, re-creating my towering world of steel and concrete and machines for her, building the city out of words, I would feel her give way. I came to know the signs of her surrender…” (pg. 118)
“I almost wished, seeing her face, that I could have said no. ‘Yes’, I said.” (pg. 119)
“Her voice was listless and the face she slowly turned my way was, now that I think back on it, like a Benin mask, the features drawn and almost distorted by an ancient abstract sorrow.” (pg. 120)
Literary Devices and Ideas Used Within To Da-duh in Memoriam
a thought that can be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things. (i.e. Racism, Sexism).
Da-duh prefers her grandchildren to be white males
Da-duh is shocked to hear her black granddaughter beat up a white girl
“We were lead forward then, apologetically because not only did Da-duh prefer boys but she also liked her grandchildren to be ‘white’...” (pg. 113)
refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers or a language that is socially subordinated to a regional or national standard language.
a figure of speech, in which one refers covertly or indirectly to an object or circumstance from an external context.
It is implied that the strike that Da-duh died in was the British West Indian Labour Unrest of 1934–39
In relation to the narrator, the narrator is very prideful of herself as well as her lifestyle. For example, when the narrator tells Da-duh that she had beat up a white girl for calling her a name, it shows that while she may not be the most peaceful person, she has enough pride within herself to stick up for herself. Another example of her pride is when she happily “reconstructs” her world for Da-duh. The narrator sings and talks about her lifestyle, showing that she is proud of how she lives and is not embarrassed to show others.
In relation to Da-duh, she also shows pride within her actions. This is especially evident in how she continually asks the narrator about whether or not the narrator had the various plants or fruits back in New York. These events show the pride that Da-duh held within the Caribbean culture. Her pridefulness is rooted within the idea that she has something that the narrator does not.
Do you think Da-duh's pride was positive or negative?
This story takes place in the setting of Barbados.
The two main characters within this short story are the narrator and Da-duh.
The two main types of conflicts within this story are Character vs. Character as well as Character vs. Society.
This story has two major themes; pride and learning.
This story is told in a first person retrospective point of view.
The narrator is a young black female who is accustomed to life in New York. She has little to no knowledge of Da-duh's culture and life.
Da-duh is the narrator's grandmother who has spent her life living in Barbados. She has insignificant knowledge of life in New York and thus almost no knowledge about the narrator's life.
Character vs. Character conflict occurs between the narrator and Da-duh and Character vs. Society conflict occurs between the narrator and Da-duh's society and Da-duh and the narrator's society.
This story utilizes different literary devices and ideas to further enhance the story.
Stereotypes are used to help develop Da-duh's character and ultimately reveal her characteristic of being "stuck in the past".
Dialect is also used to develop Da-duh's character as well as to help develop setting, showing that the story takes place within an area that is immersed within its culture.
An allusion is used to give the reader a time period in which the story takes place, thus making the story more realistic and believable.
Stereotypes within the story are used to develop Da-duh's character and reveal to the reader how she has not progressed into the future where individuals have become more open to people of all races and genders.
Dialect utilized within this story helps to give the reader a better image of the setting of the story. The dialect used allows for readers to infer that the story takes place within a rural area that is immersed within its culture.
The allusion to the famous '37 strike allows the reader to have a rough estimate as to when the story takes place. This allows for the reader to better understand the situations within the story as it occurs in a time period that is far earlier than the readers.
What thoughts come to mind when you hear the words "urban" and "rural"?
Paule Marshall is an American writer born on April 9, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. She was born under the name of Valenza Pauline Burke and much of her work was written based on her parent's Barbadian heritage. Much of Marshall's writing stresses a need for black Americans to restore and recover their African origins. Paule Marshall spent 1938 and 1939 in her parents home country of Barbados. She later returned several times as a young adult. After working as a librarian for some time, Paule Marshall joined Our World, an African American magazine where she worked as a food and fashion editor through 1953 to 1956.