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ERIC Number: ED336738
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
A Personal Essay.
Zawacki, Terry Myers
The personal essay does not rely on the straight, even rows of a carefully laid out vegetable garden, on strings pulled tight to connect beginnings to ends. Instead it meanders, pulls from here and there, thinks out loud, asks questions, and proceeds leisurely through disconnections to make connections, as an ever-changing flower garden in which flowers grow where they were not planted, escaping their borders, refusing to be orderly. The personal essay course might be an alternative to freshmen-level courses which instruct students in the practice of constructing clear rational arguments--a place to think about alternatives to traditional academic discourse and even to consider "women's ways of knowing." There is no place to acknowledge personal context in the modern academic essay, which demands that one put aside feelings, intuitions, and experiences and instead somehow stand outside one's self and reason objectively and impersonally. Rather than trying to discover what makes a written voice distinctly a "woman's" or a "man's," writers and educators might instead look at the personal essay as a composition--of self and literary form--which will allow multiple voices to be heard. By its very nature and genus, the personal essay is open to diverse structures; it invites conversation, and allows the writer to think, observe, and reflect at leisure. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).