In "To Da-duh in Memoriam," what question does the grandmother repeatedly ask the young girl?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is no question that is specifically quoted as being asked by the grandmother repeatedly, however, as the story progresses it is made clear that she consistently spends time with her granddaughter to ask her about her life in America and the things of which she cannot even begin to imagine or dream. Consider what the narrator tells us about the time they spent together:

From then on, whenever I wasn't taken to visit relatives, I accompanied Da-duh out into the ground, and alone with her amid the canes or down in the gully I told her about New York. It always began with some slighting remark on her part: "I know they don't have anything this nice where you come from," or "Tell me, I hear those foolish people in New York does do such and such..." But as I answered, recreating my towering world of steel and concrete and machines for her, building the city out of words, I would feel her give way.

The insatiable curiosity of Da-duh is shown through her repeated questioning of her granddaughter as she craves to discover more about this new world which is like another planet compared to her home. Of course, as the granddaughter responds, creating her world out of her words, Da-duh realises the limitations of her world and "surrenders," resulting in her death.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the narrator visits her grandmother in Barbados, the grandmother repeatedly asks her, "tell me, have you got anything like these in that place where you were born?” The grandmother points out the bountiful produce in Barbados, including trees bearing fruit such as limes and sugar cane, and asks her granddaughter if she has such things in Brooklyn, where she lives.

At first, the granddaughter feels bad that Brooklyn does not have these things, and then she begins to embellish the truth about what Brooklyn does have. She claims that the snow in New York is higher than her grandmother's house, and then she tells her grandmother stories about the wonders of the machines and buildings in New York. When she is grown up, the granddaughter realizes that much of what the grandmother showed her in Barbados was special, but, as a girl, she felt that she wanted to prove her grandmother wrong and prove how superior New York was to Barbados.

Read the study guide:
To Da-duh in Memoriam

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