ERIC Number: ED229786
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Autobiography and Audience.
Bloom, Lynn Z.
Unlike less skilled writers, who are intensely writer-oriented, skilled writers of personal essays and autobiographies are reader-oriented and demonstrate a conscious concern for their external audience. Student writers can develop a sense of an external audience by analyzing parallel autobiographical text selections of skilled and unskilled writers. They can contrast "The Diary of Isaac Dodd" with Mark Twain's more skillful "Autobiography" to learn about authorial perspective. A comparison of Isaac Dodd with Natalie Crouter's "Forbidden Diary: A Record of Wartime Internment, 1941-45" will demonstrate the principles of ordering events and proportioning for emphasis. Contrasting "Diary of the Michigan Farmer's Wife" with Mark Twain can help students learn how the author's additional interpretation of events is often necessary to make the material more understandable to an unfamiliar audience. Finally, a comparison of "Wishes are Horses: Montgomery, Alabama's First Lady of the Violin" by novice writer Fanny Marks Seibels, with Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Women Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts" will show how skilled writers present numerous, varied, individualized, and complex personae. Such examinations will enable student writers to ask such questions as (1) Who will read this? (2) What will they find interesting or significant? (3) What should be supplied or eliminated to emphasize the interesting or significant? (4) Does the organization reflect the intended emphasis? and (5) How much overt interpretation is needed? (HTH)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Humanities (NFAH), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (34th, Detroit, MI, March 17-19, 1983).