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Multimodal Literary Analysis of " Write Me Sometime".

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Kim Wagner

on 2 March 2013

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Transcript of Multimodal Literary Analysis of " Write Me Sometime".

Looking for imagery And Symbols: Overall Narrative structure Responding to Character Lenses Kim Wagner A Multimodal Literary Analysis of
'Write Me Sometime'
by Taien Ng-Chan As time moves forward, the character constantly encounters conflicts while struggling for her father's attention like jealousy and resentment. She writes him letters and he sends none back, barely acknowledging her existence. This bothering situation draws up the theme of child rejection from parent. She also shows jealousy in her tone when she mentions, "... I stopped looking forward to Saturdays. I'd listen to my sister talk to my father about basket ball... or the way they called grilled cheese sandwiches "grouchy" sandwiches. Or noticed how my sister knew all the songs on the tape of Chinese opera that my dad liked." This indicated she was jealous of the stronger connection her sister and father started to have.
Other themes that popped up are abandonment, obviously by him, and loss. The characters' relationship starts to deteriorate as she goes to university and their frequent visits become once or twice a year. In one way or another, the father too loses. Because of his rejection and lack of commitment, he slowly loses his daughter's faith in him. Based on the short story “Write Me Sometime”, one of the main conflicts would be that the once strong bond between a daughter and her father slowly turned into a relationship between two strangers. This conflict ties in with the explicit thesis, being " I don't know why I feel the need to keep in touch with my father, when he wasn't much more in my life than lunch once a week."
Initially, it’s noticed that the main character of "Write Me Sometime" vividly recalls the Saturdays of fun she spent eating out and hanging with her father. The first detail the main character states is, "Whenever I think of my father, I think of food". This indicates that the lunches are the only memories she has of him. Eventually their bonding weekends becomes hindered by her younger half sister. The Main character sees it as a sort of invasion be mentioning, "Suddenly, I had a weekend sibling, which was strange because I had always thought I was an only child". She becomes disgusted and distressed with what they have become; "... my insides feeling forlorn and empty." In a sense, there is closure. She realizes that they no longer have much to talk about. Their relationship was casual small talk; boring. She was in denial of her reality for a while "He said that he'd call back some other time". Tired of waiting for a sign she gave up,"I called him a few days later." "Hi Dad," I said, only to be greeted enthusiastically with my sister's name. "Uh, no," I said. I felt almost apologetic. "It's your other daughter." This is when she faces reality. Her closure has been justified. It's almost as though she's lost the fight to gain back their strong bond. The short story "Write Me Sometime" raises lots of questions. Why didn't the father write back? Did he forget that his first daughter was just as important as his second? Was it his guilty conscience the cause of his desire to buy her all the food he thought she needed? Does he care what she thinks of him? Why does he only offer food? Why didn't her offer financial help? All these questions were left unanswered, thus leaving only the surface of the story bare. The conflict and theme of the story were developed through imagery. The main character describes her Saturday lunches with her father as enjoyable and thus, she looked forward to them. She describes the places they'd dine at and fast foods they'd eat. " I see myself sitting small in the corner of a restaurant booth with dark vinyl seats, a huge pizza in front of me", this description allows the reader to picture what writer wants us to imagine. While following through the story she has flash backs to moments in the past that are stepping stones to her present relationship with her father. All of those moments were lived at restaurants or had some connection to food. The good ones she enjoyed become faded and grey since her father shows no commitment to their relationship. It's almost as if he has disregarded it. Referencing Conflict The point of view of "Write Me Sometime" is shared through the main character, the daughter. As a little girl she grew up having her father in her life once a week. As she got older, this routine slowed down and started fading away. From her point of view, the story was effective in the way that the reader can see how she struggles with the relationship as she gets older. The reader can see the stressed placed on the daughter by her father neglecting her needs. This is how the reader sympathizes with the main character. The author employs a limited narrative focus since the reader is only aware of what's going on in the main characters direct personal life and not in the lives of the other characters. The reader can only judge the situation from the daughter's side of the story. Since the Story is viewed from the daughter's perspective, the mood is gloomy and sombre. The main character is crushed by what "they've" become. All she has left are good old memories of her and her father. The tone is resentful and reflective. The main character, the daughter, lives in the past and embraces what was. She feels left out of her father's life and hurts because of it. Their bond was strong but eventually it broke.
Evidence of her, sombre mood is in statements such as "He hardly ever writes back to me,...we say that we should write more often, get to know each other better... I feel as if I'm trying to communicate with outer-space life-forms, my satellite dish sending out signals just in case". Feeling as if her efforts are just a waste of time The main characters in the short story "Write Me Sometime" are flat and skeletal. Faces can't be pictured for those characters. Their description needed to have more details in order for better development and success in making connections. The reader gives clues on age and perhaps culture. "... my sister knew all the songs on the tape of Chinese opera that my dad liked to play in the car." They could be chinese.
But due to the insufficient development of characters they don't come to life, but they do seem like real people because of the situation they're living in. The main character is the character most likely to empathize with since throughout the story her pain and feelings towards the situation and transition of memories cause the reader to feel bad for her. Its more likely to empathize with her since the story is from her point of view. The reader puts his/herself in the girl's position and sympathizes with her. On the last page she states,"I closed the door behind him, my insides feeling forlorn and empty." this allows the reader to picture her pain and discomfort. However, the possibility of empathizing with the father or half sister are minimal since they're point of view isn't projected. They're feelings and conflicts are irrelevant to some degree. The symbolic value of food in the short story "Write Me Sometime" represents the relationship between the girl and her father.
At the beginning of the story, the author describes the fast foods; unhealthy foods, the main character would eat with her father whenever they hung out. The food they ate represents good times. However, her preference in food changes when she get's older, "Dad, I'm a vegetarian", this change signifies he knows nothing about her anymore, thus the cause of her feelings towards him to have changed and for other reasons views him in a different light. Pizza, being a key symbol, is frequently used to represent the shift from one memory to the next. It represents a fun past and her hopeless present relationship with her father.
Eventually, when she's older, the main characters preference in food changes. She doesn't eat pizza as she did before. Her diet changed to vegetarian. This represents that their relationship has changed and so have feelings towards her father. She seeks a healthier relationship with him, however the father seems unaware yet tries to cure his guilt by buying her all the food he thinks she'd possibly desire.. The archetypal pattern of this short story is a child who falls victim to growing up in a broken nuclear family and faces the loss of affection and commitment from her father. Unfortunately, like most of these cases, the main character is deeply affected by it. She battles with feeling neglected by her father. She puts effort into writing him letters, yet he doesn't return any. It's a very sad situation that lots of kids go through. Some fall into great depression and others are okay with it. The reasons for splitting are many, however some parents forget that they divorced their spouse and not the child. As we all know, the children caught in those situations feel great emptiness especially in certain events that require a fatherly figure like, father's day concerts. The tone of this story is very pensive. The character is wrapped up in her childhood memories. The first paragraph is key to the rest of the story since the tone seems to be cheerful because the author described good times. The rest of the story is sad and gloomy. The main character seems distant in her thoughts and words. She basically hangs on the threads of that broken father- daughter relationship by reliving every part of her past in her mind. She hopes that they can make up for the time lost but fixes her mind on her father not feeling the same. " Or the time we went for spaghetti' and the top fell off the container... that's the picture I have", these lines are evidence of her recalling and thinking of memories. By recognizing the change in tone, the reader can interpret the main character's feelings. The tone is effective by the manner in which it allows the reader to better understand and view the situation from where the neglected daughter is standing. The tone is the authors tool to open the reader's feelings and feel sympathy for the main character who feels rejected, replaced and abandoned. The story " Write Me Sometime" reflects different lenses. One being the mimetic criticism. The story, with reference to the thesis, is about the hardships encountered by a girl growing up with divorced parents and who is greatly affected by her father's absence in her life. This problem reflects situations that actually happens in society. This situation imitates reality. The story can also be viewed through psychoanalytical criticism. Questioning the father's motives. Why didn't he make more time for his daughter? Why would he only visit once a week? Maybe he was being forced by his present spouse or ex-spouse to keep distance from the daughter.
Maybe he felt guilty about not giving her the attention she deserves from him so he tried to feed her with all the things she used to enjoy. On Page 43, he encourages her to order both desserts if she liked. He mentions, "After all, how often do you get to have lunch with your dad?", which makes it seem as if he thinks buying her whatever she liked would make up for his absence in her life. He's sort of buying his way out of guilt which makes the main character feel cheap and well, not as important. Whatever the reasons, the thoughts and motives of each character allow the reader to further understand the situation. The story can also be looked at from the lens of archetypal criticism. This lens ties in with the previous lenses mentioned since the archetype mimics conflicts in society and motives of those involved in these situations. The theme of human life and loss are archetypes connected with the "cold" fatherly relationship and the hurt of the fatherless daughter archetypes. This lens allows the reader to further question and understand the meaning of the text and the heart felt emotion towards the conflict. The song "Because of you" by Kelly Clarkson relates to the situation the main character goes through. It reflect the hardships and emptiness felt when they're abandoned by their fatherly figure. It reflects the pain inflicted on a person who's neglected by the one they love even though they , the children, try to keep in contact and show how much they love them. The story shown through the video is very similar to certain situations in the story " Write Me Sometime". The little girl in the video is caught between a broken marriage and is forced to watch her father leave. Although she wants him to stay, he refuses to and heartlessly leaves her standing on the driveway looking as he drives away from her. Similarly to the letter, the little girl in the video makes a drawing for her father but he deliberately throws it a side and ignores it because he's too busy on the phone. Of course, the sense of rejection obviously draws hurt on her face. The singer also says, " my heart can't possibly break if it wasn't even whole to start with". This is with reference to her father's absence in her life being what makes her feel empty. The conflict in the short story reminds me of a similar situation lived by one of my cousins.
When she was younger, about 5 years old, her parents got separated. She had no choice but to stay with her mom who was very controlling (still is).
For years, the father tried getting in contact with his daughter but my aunt never allowed it. He sent a teddy bear, she burnt it. He sent letters, she threw them away. A few years after the separation, my aunt met someone else, got married and moved abroad together with her whole family.
For years my cousin's father, my uncle, tried to contact his daughter but with no avail. It wasn't until my cousin turned 18 and returned to her home town for Christmas after years of not living there, that she got to meet her father again and found out that all along he did think of her and did love her despite the fact her mom made her believe other wise. The movie "Remember Me", starring Robert Pattinson, also reminds me of this story's father-child conflict. In the movie, the main character who played Tyler Hawkins, was faced with the gruesome relationship between him and his father. His father was wealthy and did support his children when it came to financial needs, however the father was cold and shows no effort to take part in their lives since he's always busy. It's the father's lack of affection towards his children which deeply affects them. It's sort of the reason why the one brother committed suicide. It isn't until the end of the movie when the protagonist makes his father realize the damage he's done that the father becomes aware and shows effort in changing his cold ways. Listening For Tone There is a sense of irony when the dad says "Write me sometime. Let me Know if there's anything you need". It's sort of ironic he says that when all along she's been doing so, yet he never seems to have the time or puts in effort to reply. That's what she needs from him! Connecting the story To other forms:
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