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In the short story, �Daddy”, by Jan Clausen, the narrator is a young girl with divorced


parents. She lives with her biological mother, who is now a lesbian. The mother has a female friend named Carolyn. Carolyn’s relationship with the mother is not clearly defined, but one can assume she is the mother’s new lover. Sundays are the days when the little girl goes to her father’s house, and spends her time with him. The father is in a serious relationship with a lady named Ellen. The story is about what the little girl goes through and how she feels in a very tough part of her life. Parts of this story are confusing and certain details should have been more clearly stated.


�Daddy” is very interesting, but many questions, concerns, and comments can be brought up throughout story. The age of the little girl is questionable. She is aware of the �birds and the bees,” which is supported in the story by, �When they want to have a baby the man’s penis gets bigger and he puts it in the woman’s vagina” (1). Depending on the parent(s), this subject matter may not be discussed until the child is at an older age. But this little girl is aware of this topic, and she can describe it pretty clearly. She also has a distorted idea of how babies are delivered. For a little girl to understand and speak about this subject, she must be either fairly bright at a young age or she is an older child.


A part in the story that contradicts her level of intelligence is that she cannot even tell the time. Proof of this in the story is when she states, �He says when I learn to tell time he’ll get me a watch” (1). Most children are able to read the clock at a relatively young age, but she is not able to. Yet she understands about the way human beings reproduce and how babies are delivered. This is something the author did not carefully think through. It is confusing that the child comprehends the science of reproduction but not the ability to tell time.


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Another situation that can make the reader feel more puzzled is when she says, �Sometimes Carolyn stays overnight. We only have two beds. She has to sleep in the same bed with Mommy” (0). This brings to attention that the child is unaware of her mother’s relationship with Carolyn. She understands the concept and idea of heterosexuality, but she has little knowledge of homosexuality. Even when she lives with her mother, who chooses to live the lifestyle of homosexuality, the little girl does not realize who Carolyn truly is. The author makes the little girl understand certain things that most children would not get, but also makes her oblivious to other things that most children already know.


The author does take an interesting approach by narrating the story and writes it in a young girl’s point of view. It has little regard to punctuation and sentence structure. This should catch the reader’s attention because it is not the typical way of publishing a story. Most writers go through countless edits of their original work and make it free of error. This work of literature however, probably went through many revisions of trying to make it grammatically incorrect. This unorthodox way of telling the story could also bring confusion to the reader. It is hard to understand the mind of a young child. Although children have less complex minds compared to adults, they have a great imagination. So telling this story from a little girl’s point of view can have multiple effects. Maybe this is what the author had in mind. Bringing more attention to an author’s work is what every writer would like to accomplish.


Throughout the story, the mother and father are referred to as �Mommy” and �Daddy” respectively. The name of the little girl is also unknown. What was Clausen’s purpose for not naming each character? Many conclusions could be drawn out regarding this. One might be for the purpose of getting the reader more involved in the story. Having the main characters unnamed makes the reader psychologically get into the story. Clausen is trying to make the audience put them self in the narrator’s shoes. Almost everyone can relate to the words of �mommy” and �daddy.” That could be one reason why the author chose not to name every character.


This short story is very well written, but like every other piece of literature, there could be some improvements. Clausen chose a unique path and presented her story in a mind-tingling way. The way the story is narrated can grab the attentions of many people. Every adult has been a child at a point in his or her lifetime. Some longer than others, but everyone has gone through the adolescent years. And anyone with this experience should be able to relate to a story like this, even if they have not lived through a divorce.





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