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ERIC Number: EJ847214
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May-29
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Life Stories Unlocked by Literature
Mifflin, Margot
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n38 pB20 May 2009
The author shares how some of her students' experiences rival those of the harrowing memoirs they are assigned. One of her public university students was raped by her father and grew up dodging bullets in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, literally crawling to the bathroom some nights for fear of being hit. She was initially a weak writer, and the author graded her harshly. But she was smart and determined. An economics professor simultaneously recognized her talent and they both encouraged her. Within a year, she had won the college's most prestigious fellowship, along with a highly competitive national fellowship; she joined the student senate and began writing for the campus paper. She said reading Alice Sebold's "Lucky", a memoir of Alice's rape as a college freshman, was the only reason she was able to get out of bed some mornings. The author relates how literature often unlocks her students' stories. They walk the same mythic landscape as the characters Toni Morrison or Tobias Wolff have etched into the author's imagination. But they are real. And they are proof that for many students, public education is not merely a matter of self-improvement; it is a means of survival.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)