English 100: Autobiographical Essay


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English 100: Autobiographical Essay

  1. 1. Autobiographical narrative
  2. 2. Open-form: Write it slant!Sensory detailsFigurative languageEmotionsCharactersScenes
  3. 3. NOT just facts anddescription of yourworld/experienceMEANING is also VERYimportant!
  4. 4. 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.
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. Use plot developmentto give the patchworkquilt of your life’sstory more meaningand depth
  7. 7. Old vs. new SELFTransformation/breakthrough Intervention?
  8. 8. Old vs. new VIEWParadigm shift
  9. 9. Old vs. new VALUESCrisis that creates conflict in values, with or without resolution
  10. 10. In-Class ActivityWrite about/Discuss an event or person that changed you.
  11. 11. Four Elements of Memoir
  12. 12. Turning points/lessonsThe story What’s atis about stake?CHANGE
  13. 13. Thestory is about YOU
  14. 14. There are other real people – family andfriends -- in the story
  15. 15. Show themrealistically How?
  16. 16. Don’t let fearof what yourfamily andfriends mightthink do THISto you!
  17. 17. The story should not be blurtedout but instead, organized and structured.
  19. 19. 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.
  20. 20. Consider organization and developmentFlashback Scenes ChronologicalUsing creative elements to organize
  21. 21. Thesis = Theme
  22. 22. CONFLICT CREATES PLOTDescription + conflict = meaning
  23. 23. Conflict occurs between…two charactersa person and a placea character and a feeling
  24. 24. Conflict can be explored but not solved
  25. 25. Crisis vs. ConflictBoth cause shift How are theyor change. different?
  26. 26. Conflict Creates Tension Surface tension Underlying tension
  27. 27. StructuralElements of Memoir
  28. 28. Character Develop on all levels, internal and external
  29. 29. Problem Your autobiography is an opportunity for you to show your audience something about how you became who you are.
  30. 30. Struggle: What you gothrough to get whereyou are now
  31. 31. Vertical (internal) PLOT STYLESHorizontal (external)
  32. 32. Epiphany
  33. 33. ResolutionSHOW! Reinforce what is being said about character’s growth by showing it in scene, description, dialogue…
  34. 34. Observational Writing and Sensory Description
  35. 35. S a H l O w W a y D s O N T ’ ETelling = facts or reflection T LShowing = meaning, Ldescription, development
  36. 36. How do you “show” your audience an essay?
  37. 37. Remember your five senses?
  38. 38. ACTIVE, VIBRANT word choiceEnergized
  39. 39. Figurative languageSimiles…“…Like a patient etherized upon a table.”Metaphor… Sylvia Plath uses a cut on her finger to represent soldiers going to war.
  40. 40. Using Sensory Language to CreatePositive & Negative Images/Feelings
  41. 41. 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
  42. 42. In-Class Activity…again…Take Keith’s good day and ruin it, using description that evokes negative feelings or images.
  43. 43. Description createsmood, or atmosphere, inan essay
  44. 44. How do you expand the atmosphere of your essay?
  45. 45. 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.
  46. 46. 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.
  47. 47. DIALOGUE
  48. 48. Dialogue MUST…Move plot alongDevelop charactersSet atmosphere or moodBe concise and efficient
  49. 49. Dialogue breaks rules.Sentence fragmentsColloquialismsChoppy
  50. 50. Strong dialogue must have tensionEvery word should count and have meaning
  51. 51. In-class ActivityWrite dialogue between you and the personwho taught you to drive during your firstdriving lesson behind the wheel.
  52. 52. Subtexthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4fvYCFaa9 I (Jurassic Park example)
  53. 53. 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.
  54. 54. Writing Reflection Writing about what you are writing, about the story
  55. 55. Reflection acts as a narrative voice to guide your audience……an interpreter that tells not only whathappened, but why it happened and what itmeans.
  56. 56. Reflections answers the question, Why? Something the narrator can often not answer in the heat of action
  57. 57. Metaphors as reflection“not the sharpest knife in the block…” Others?
  58. 58. What mightthis onion bea metaphorfor?
  59. 59. 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.