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ERIC Number: ED357338
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Stirring the Ashes of Public Discourse.
Marinara, Martha
Sylvia Plath's confessional poem, "Lady Lazarus" can be used to illustrate a connection between autobiography and social critique. "You poke and stir" among the institutions that form social relations--the educational system, the court system, the economic system--to find individuals whose lives, whose joys and pains, and struggles for survival have been involved with building, manipulating, consciously demolishing and rebuilding the cultural context(s) in which they form their lived relations. There is a connection between an academic perspective on student narratives and the critical work that has been done with confessional poetry such as Plath's. Some of the problems with reading confessional poetry parallel the difficulties caused by trying to critically read student autobiography. Teachers must help students deconstruct the opposition between personal and abstract writing. Teachers must ask their students to understand how their social roles and their individual autobiographies are determined by their cultural context, to step outside those roles and critique their contexts, and finally, by stepping back into their own stories, somehow to change their representations of cultural context in a way that accommodates collective stories. Students need to explore the "self," the events in their lives, the domestic as operating within the boundaries of a social context; to see their voices as part of a communal dialect that is neither fixed nor stable. (Contains 20 references.) (SAM)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A