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English 100:  Autobiographical Essay

English 100: Autobiographical Essay






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    English 100:  Autobiographical Essay English 100: Autobiographical Essay Presentation Transcript

    • Autobiographical narrative
    • Open-form: Write it slant!Sensory detailsFigurative languageEmotionsCharactersScenes
    • NOT just facts anddescription of yourworld/experienceMEANING is also VERYimportant!
    • Although your memoir looks at manydifferent aspects of your life, be sureto keep your focus narrow. It is just asmall slice of your life not a wholeoverview.
    • The more specificity of detailed description and meaningful connections , the better. Truth is in the details. Show me and I’ll believe. Tell me and I won’t imagine.
    • Use plot developmentto give the patchworkquilt of your life’sstory more meaningand depth
    • Old vs. new SELFTransformation/breakthrough Intervention?
    • Old vs. new VIEWParadigm shift
    • Old vs. new VALUESCrisis that creates conflict in values, with or without resolution
    • In-Class ActivityWrite about/Discuss an event or person that changed you.
    • Four Elements of Memoir
    • Turning points/lessonsThe story What’s atis about stake?CHANGE
    • Thestory is about YOU
    • There are other real people – family andfriends -- in the story
    • Show themrealistically How?
    • Don’t let fearof what yourfamily andfriends mightthink do THISto you!
    • The story should not be blurtedout but instead, organized and structured.
    • LIMIT SUMMARYThis happened, and then this happened.Then there was the weird thing – a totalfluke. After that, something elsehappened before we all gave up andnothing happened any more.
    • Consider organization and developmentFlashback Scenes ChronologicalUsing creative elements to organize
    • Thesis = Theme
    • CONFLICT CREATES PLOTDescription + conflict = meaning
    • Conflict occurs between…two charactersa person and a placea character and a feeling
    • Conflict can be explored but not solved
    • Crisis vs. ConflictBoth cause shift How are theyor change. different?
    • Conflict Creates Tension Surface tension Underlying tension
    • StructuralElements of Memoir
    • Character Develop on all levels, internal and external
    • Problem Your autobiography is an opportunity for you to show your audience something about how you became who you are.
    • Struggle: What you gothrough to get whereyou are now
    • Vertical (internal) PLOT STYLESHorizontal (external)
    • Epiphany
    • ResolutionSHOW! Reinforce what is being said about character’s growth by showing it in scene, description, dialogue…
    • Observational Writing and Sensory Description
    • S a H l O w W a y D s O N T ’ ETelling = facts or reflection T LShowing = meaning, Ldescription, development
    • How do you “show” your audience an essay?
    • Remember your five senses?
    • ACTIVE, VIBRANT word choiceEnergized
    • Figurative languageSimiles…“…Like a patient etherized upon a table.”Metaphor… Sylvia Plath uses a cut on her finger to represent soldiers going to war.
    • Using Sensory Language to CreatePositive & Negative Images/Feelings
    • In-Class ActivityCreate a POSITIVE start to Keith’s day. First, he eats breakfast. Then, he goes to the store, where he runs into a woman he knows; they talk and then he returns homeFlesh out the details of Keith’s adventure/misadventure using sensory detail, description
    • In-Class Activity…again…Take Keith’s good day and ruin it, using description that evokes negative feelings or images.
    • Description createsmood, or atmosphere, inan essay
    • How do you expand the atmosphere of your essay?
    • Examples of atmosphereFrom The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and what ever waked there, walked alone.
    • In-Class ActivityYour main character arrives at a party, butfinds the atmosphere in the room sohorrendous that he/she decides to leave.What is said? Why is he/she uncomfortable?What is going on in the room? Create theatmosphere for this party.
    • Dialogue MUST…Move plot alongDevelop charactersSet atmosphere or moodBe concise and efficient
    • Dialogue breaks rules.Sentence fragmentsColloquialismsChoppy
    • Strong dialogue must have tensionEvery word should count and have meaning
    • In-class ActivityWrite dialogue between you and the personwho taught you to drive during your firstdriving lesson behind the wheel.
    • Subtexthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4fvYCFaa9 I (Jurassic Park example)
    • In-Class ActivityWrite dialogue between a couple who isfighting over one of the partner’s never doingthe dishes. The subtext is one partnersuspects the other of cheating.
    • Writing Reflection Writing about what you are writing, about the story
    • Reflection acts as a narrative voice to guide your audience……an interpreter that tells not only whathappened, but why it happened and what itmeans.
    • Reflections answers the question, Why? Something the narrator can often not answer in the heat of action
    • Metaphors as reflection“not the sharpest knife in the block…” Others?
    • What mightthis onion bea metaphorfor?
    • In-Class Activity Think of three episodes in your life. What recurs in those three stages? It could be a hair style, a song, a person, a piece of jewelry, a car anything. Write just a few sentences about why this item was present in your life during those three stages and what role it played.This is how metaphors are found.