Simplistically speaking, autobiography and memoir differ based on the chronology of the story. Whereas autobiography is largely considered to be about the totality about the authors life, memoir refers to the telling of a certain period of time or story arc of the authors life.
- 1)Think about rhetorical analysis: the writers strategies: scene, dialogue, summary, descriptive details, unlikely comparisons, etc.
- 2)Understand Reader Response Theory
At its most basic level, reader-response criticism considers readers’ reactions to literature as vital to interpreting the meaning of the text.
Reader-response theorists share two beliefs: 1) that the role of the reader cannot be omitted from our understanding of literature and 2) that readers do not passively consume the meaning presented to them by an objective literary text; rather they actively make the meaning they find in literature
- How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning?
- What does a key portion of a longer text, tell us about the reading experience pre-structured by (built into) that text?
- How might we interpret a literary text to show that the reader’s response is, or is analogous to, the topic of the story.
Understanding Reader Response:
- In reader-response, the reader is essential to the meaning of a text for they bring the text to life.
- When writing a reader-response, write as an educated adult addressing other adults or fellow scholars. Be cautious of criticizing any text as boring, crazy, or dull. If you do criticize, base your criticism on the principles and form of the text itself.
- The challenge of a reader-response is to show how you connected with the text.
The Structure of a MLA formatted Reader-Response Essay
Your challenge is to connect with and have a conversation with the one or more of the memoirs. Your paper does not have to be humorous.
Beginning paragraph of your reader-response essay (1000 words):
- Context Get the essay started by setting the stage for your response.
- title of the work to which you are responding;
- the author
- genre (humorous memoir and what is a memoir)
- 2-sentence summary with (These orange bullet points should be combined.)
- the main thesis of the memoir
- Reader Response theory is__________
- The meaning I make from________ is (the thesis of your literary essay)
Your thesis should address one or more of these questions, and your paper as a whole should address most of these questions in some way. Do not answer in a systematic way. Close reading and quoting is involved in all of the following. NO BLOCK QUOTES. A word, a phrases, or no more than two sentences may be quoted at a time. Use parenthetical citations; for this paper that means the authors last name in parenthesis.
- What does the text have to do with you, personally, and with your life (past, present or future)? It is not acceptable to write that the text has NOTHING to do with you, since just about everything humans can write has to do in some way with every other human.
- How much does the text agree or clash with your view of the world, and what you consider right and wrong? Use several quotes as examples of how it agrees with and supports what you think about the world, about right and wrong, and about what you think it is to be human. Use quotes and examples to discuss how the text disagrees with what you think about the world and about right and wrong.
- What did you learn, and how much were your views and opinions challenged or changed by this text, if at all? Did the text communicate with you? Why or why not? Give examples of how your views might have changed or been strengthened (or perhaps, of why the text failed to convince you, the way it is). Please do not write I agree with everything the author wrote, since everybody disagrees about something, even if it is a tiny point. Use quotes to illustrate your points of challenge, or where you were persuaded, or where it left you cold.
- How well does the text address things that you, personally, care about and consider important to the world? How does it address things that are important to your family, your community, your ethnic group, to people of your economic or social class or background, or your faith tradition? If not, who does or did the text serve? Did it pass the Who cares? test? Use quotes from the text to illustrate.
- How does the humor work to reach you? How does it work specifically to achieve its purpose. Use quotes and examples.
- Restate your response and wrap in in no more than three sentences
- Other materials
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