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ERIC Number: EJ1097571
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
Telling "My Story": Revisiting the Autobiographical Essay in the Composition Classroom
Fisanick, Christina
CEA Forum, v36 n2 Sum-Fall 2007
Although arguments about the personal essay in the writing classroom have been taking place since before composition studies even existed as an academic field, the author thinks that in light of a renewed interest in autobiographical writing in the academy and in popular culture, it is important to take another look at this type of writing. Writing about the self in the form of the often-assigned autobiographical essay is controlled by the expectations of the self in the economy of the university, and students willingly and sometimes even forcefully engage in the type of writing that represents the self as disembodied, coherent, and stable. Students often use autobiographical writing assignments to repeat "my story," a safe and linear narrative that is validated in the composition classroom and in mainstream culture because it replicates the self as a knowable and unified object. A poststructural approach to the autobiographical essay assignment can move students and their writing beyond these problematic, if comfortable, confines and help them explore their lives in writing that is more rhetorically rich and complex. In this article, the author shares her own autobiographical essay, presents her favorite prompts that encourage students to explore their lives and their writing in ways that perhaps college entrance or scholarship essays may not have allowed, and discusses evaluation of autobiographical essays.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A