ERIC Number: ED344215
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar-20
Reference Count: N/A
Surviving To Write and Writing To Survive: The Complex Case of Langston Hughes.
Studying the life of Langston Hughes in the context of how to teach freshman composition can shed light on two sometimes conflicting pedagogies, the expressivist and the social-constructionist. A discouraging period of fierce criticism, illness, depression, and financial woes coincided with Hughes' 39th birthday, which his biographer Arnold Rampersad described as a "season of humiliation and dispossession." Teachers of composition should look to Hughes's experience of tension and frustration as an allegorical model common to a vast majority of their students. This tension can be related to the conflicting pedagogies of freshman composition: those that stress discovery of voice (Peter Elbow) versus those that stress the navigation of discourse domains (David Bartholomae). Hughes's writing journey was that of an outsider, and to some degree all freshman writing courses are concerned with helping outsiders to certain modes of discourse. An example is the case of a student who experienced severe writer's block in completing an academic essay. By pointing out similarities with Hughes's traumatic struggles, this student was enabled to complete the work. Hughes's successes provide teachers with concrete models for encouraging students to succeed in the tricky business of producing quality college level writing. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bartholomae (David); Elbow (Peter); Expressive Writing; Hughes (Langston); Social Constructionism; Voice (Rhetoric); Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).