American Literature;“The Gift” and “Persimmons”

American Literature
American Literature

American Literature

American Literature;“The Gift” and “Persimmons” by LI-YOUNG LEE as a Representation of Postmodernism

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Choose two modern poems and two postmodern poems from the syllabus, and discuss how each is a representation of modernism or postmodernism. Quote from the poems and Klages’s essay. Write two complete paragraphs. Each should start a topic sentence and develop the ideas with quotes and your own analysis


American Literature

“The Gift” and “Persimmons” by LI-YOUNG LEE as a Representation of Postmodernism

Kissing is a motif in the Whitman’s poetry and is one Lee’s influences from the Americans. It is a frequent gesture in most of his poems. Lee’s poem “The Gift” puts together two scenes: it is clear that a father removes a splinter of metal from the palm of his seven-year-old son; when the son grows up, he also removes a splinter from under the wife’s thumbnail. According to Klages’s, this is regarded as postmodernism because of the presence of the signifiers and the loss of the idea that the signifier was pointing to. The poem finally ends with the memory of the narrator as he spontaneously kisses his father.  This radiates tenderness in “The Gift” and has led critics to call Lee sentimental. (Perushek, 1995).

The poem “Persimmons” revolves around the image of persimmon within the imagination. It dramatizes a common situation in America of an immigrant child who struggles to be a part of the society that regards him as an alien and ridicules his mispronunciation of the English words. He was slapped by a teacher for not being in a position to differentiate ‘persimmon’ from ‘precision’. He was also made to stand at a corner as a means of acculturation. These school experiences are put together with the family scenes. For example, he lies in the yard with his wife, Donna while naked teaching her words of the Chinese tribe. From the Klages’s essay, this is regarded as “mini-narrative”. The story explains a local event thus a representation of postmodernism. The poem is further ending with a scene that is full of pathos and that affirms the art value. It deserves fame as a piece of anthology.

Works Cited

Perushek, D.E. “Book Reviews: Arts & Humanities.” Library Journal 120.5 (1995): 70.

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