To Da-duh in Memoriam

by Paule Marshall
Start Free Trial

How does Marshall portray Da-Duh as a dying character before she actually dies?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Marshall establishes a series of opposites in the story to show the difference between the past and present, the old and the new, and the young and the old.  Through the granddaughter, Marshall is showing that the world Da-duh has always known has moved on.  The granddaughter lives in the...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Marshall establishes a series of opposites in the story to show the difference between the past and present, the old and the new, and the young and the old.  Through the granddaughter, Marshall is showing that the world Da-duh has always known has moved on.  The granddaughter lives in the modern world of New York City, and it is much different than the world of Barbados in which Da-duh lives.  Da-duh realizes this when her granddaughter is able to argue for the beauty and importance of her world as well.  Da-duh slowly realizes that the world has changed; there are skyscrapers and airplanes in contrast to her sugar cane fields and palm trees.  Da-duh understands that she is no longer a part of the modern world, and she slowly gives up. It is time for her to move on and leave the world to the young instead of living in the past.

Da-duh begins to die when she starts taking naps on the couch and staring out the window at the sugar cane fields in her world. She slowly begins to give up for she knows that she is probably the last of her family to embrace the Barbados culture.  However, at the end of the story, we see Da-duh’s influence through the murals of Barbados painted on her granddaughter’s apartment walls.  Perhaps Da-duh gave up to soon, for it seems as if her granddaughter is ready to carry on her legacy. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team