Expository Writing: Autobiography - Theory and Practice >> Content Detail

Study Materials


The following texts and materials used in the course - links to PDF files are reading notes for students. See the calendar for details of readings due each class session.

Strunk and White. The Elements of Style Macmillan, 1959, rpt. any year.

Leslie C. Perelman, James Paradis, and Edward Barrett.  The Mayfield Handbook of Technical and Scientific Writing.  Mountain View, California:  Mayfield, 1998.

A good dictionary (full-sized, preferably cloth, i.e., Merriam-Webster)

Conway, Jill Ker. When Memory Speaks: Reflections on Autobiography. New York : Knopf, 1998. (PDF)

———. "Memory's Plots." In When Memory Speaks. (PDF)

Rodriguez, Richard. "The Achievement of Desire." In Hunger of Memory. David R. Godine Publisher, 1991. Pp. 45-73.

Woolf, Virginia. Moments of Being. Harcourt Brace and Company, 1985. Pp. 64-143.

Brent, Linda. I-VII and VIII-XI. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Harcourt Brace and Company, 1991. Pp. 3-42 and 53-63.

Baldwin, James. "Notes of a Native Son." In Notes of a Native Son. The Library of America, 1998. Pp. 85-114.

———. "Stranger in the Village." In Notes of a Native Son. The Library of America, 1998. Pp. 159-175.

Griffin, Susan. "The Secret." In Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War.  Doubleday and Co. Inc., 1992. Pp. 113-183.

Kingston, Maxine Hong.  "No Name Woman."  In Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. Vintage Books, 1989.  Pp. 3-16.

———.  "White Tigers." In Woman Warrior. Pp. 19-53.

Reading Notes (Required for each selection in the packet)

The purpose of keeping Reading Notes is to move you through understanding the texts we read (demonstrated in your summary of the main point in them, the first part of your Notes) toward responding and making analytical comments (in the Notes and Quotes section, or whatever you wish to call the second part). For the first (summary) section, write a paragraph or two on what you see as the main points of the selection, giving adequate explanations and perhaps examples. That will suffice to give you a record of the texts and practice summarizing.

In the second part, respond to what you have read: does it make you curious, sad, bored, hopeful, reminiscent, or other? Why? Try to pinpoint the parts of the selection that elicit your responses. Include quotations that you find interesting, confusing, difficult, or otherwise significant. This may take the bottom half of one typed page; it may continue to another if you list and respond to quotations. You might also analyze, or look at the part one piece plays in the whole text: does a passage repeat a theme; contradict an earlier passage; raise questions; answer them; or provide insight into the author's strategies, idea of self, and persona?

For example, your Reading Notes on "The Achievement of Desire" may focus on Rodriguez's description of his reactions to his family, of himself, of the process of education, or a mixture of these. Ideally, writing Reading Notes will help you formulate questions for your proposals and ideas for your papers.


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