The Art of Storytelling as an Exploration of Re-Writing Gender Roles

Lamia Khalil Hammad


This paper explores Grace Paley's A Conversation with my Father, which was first published in the New American Review (1972), from a feminist perspective precisely using terms by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar. A Conversation with my Father is about storytelling; the daughter entertains her father by telling him a story; hence, storytelling as an art is at the center of this study. The main theme of the story is considered to be a generation gap between the female author and her father, yet it mainly deconstructs the image of the father and the daughter into a dialectical female and male binary opposition. Consequently, this leads to a new meaning that shows the intricacy of the art of storytelling which informs a re-construction of gender roles. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on the complex role of the female narrator who verbally informs her father of her artistic creation of the story, and the complex role of her father who criticizes her story, and asks her to re-write it from his male perspective. Through the narrator's storytelling, women’s roles as subject/object shed light on the perceived image of women in literature by a patriarchal system.


Grace Paley; Storytelling; Patriarchy; Gender Roles; Writing Style; Artistic Creation

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