ERIC Number: ED388973
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Recapturing Experiences with Death: Remembrance, Reflection, and Revision.
Perry, Patricia H.
Through three semesters of teaching the nonfiction essay, an instructor has come to terms with the fact that she has yet to attempt the type of personal essay that she asks her students to write, essays in which personal experiences with death are shared. However, a reminiscence on death through a recounting of her reactions to and understanding of various deaths among her friends and family, most notably that of her father, is such an attempt. The essay takes the form of relating a number of less significant deaths which prepare the ground for her father's drowning. As a writer, she realizes now that her mother's wonderful explanation to her at age 4 of what happens to people when they die and her mother's belief in angels allowed her as an adult to accept her father's death and derive some comfort from the knowledge of his ever-present loving spirit in her life. As a result of her own experiences writing this essay, she can conclude with the certainty of experience that allowing students to tap into the need to satisfy what E. B. White called the "audience of one" (that is, the author him- or herself) is the most beneficial aspect of writing the nonfiction essay. Negative attitudes about writing can be turned around in one semester if students are given the chance to explore personal writing with freedom. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (46th, Washington, DC, March 23-25, 1995).