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ERIC Number: ED371383
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Effective Communication in the Autobiographical Narratives of Two Women.
Gould, Christopher
For a composition teacher--comparing a passage from his Caucasian grandmother's (May Blossom Gould's) diary with the autobiographical narrative dictated by an African-American student's great-great grandmother (Violet McNeil) to a literate member of her family--racial politics and the privileges afforded by literacy irrevocably separate the two narratives. The similarities between these two narratives are that both women lived a hundred years or so and both viewed the world devoutly through the lenses of Protestant theology and thus regarded life as a struggle that culminated in triumph. Additionally, each woman constructed an identity through narrative and was eager to preserve it in writing. The occasion for Mrs. Gould's narrative was her trip from New York to New Orleans. Mrs. Gould's diary should be read as the writer's effort to negotiate among her various roles and identities. Some theorists have begun to view writing as a form of "identity negotiation." This suggests, for example, that much of what happens in a first-year composition course is a sorting out of overlapping, sometimes conflicting roles. Mrs. McNeil's text exhibits a more or less univocal resistance to an identity mediated by a dominant white male culture, yet her autobiographical narrative is itself mediated by the literate family member who recorded it. Certainly, Mrs. Gould's race, as well as her scribal literacy, allowed her to engage in a more far-reaching type of self-creation than Violet McNeil. (Excerpts of both narratives are attached.) (SAM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A