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To Show and To Tell Discussion Questions

To Show and To Tell Discussion Questions

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To Show and To Tell Discussion Questions

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  1. To Show and To TellDiscussion Questions

  2. The State of Nonfiction Today Lopate is making a polemic argument in his opening chapter, arguing against the common approach to “show, not tell” when writing nonfiction. Why, according to Lopate, should we show AND tell? Find direct evidence from the text to support your ideas.

  3. “Tracking the consciousness of the author” “In the best nonfiction, it seems to me, you’re always made aware that you are being engaged with a supple mind at work. The story line or plot in nonfiction consists of the twists and turns of a thought process working itself out.” (6)

  4. On the Necessity of Turning Oneself into a Character Lopate writes in his second chapter about the writer needing “to build herself into a character.” He gives a variety of suggestions for how a writer should do this. What are these suggestions? How does one build herself into a character? Find direct evidence from the text to support your responses.

  5. Reflection and Retrospection: A Pedagogical Mystery Story “In writing memoir, the trick, it seems to me, is to establish a double perspective that will allow the reader to participate vicariously in the experience as it was lived (the child’s confusions and misapprehensions, say) while benefiting from the sophisticated wisdom of the author’s adult self. [...] I have always been deeply attracted to just those passages where the writing takes an analytical, interpretative, generalizing turn: they seem to me the dessert, the reward of prose.” (26) What does Lopate mean by a double perspective?

  6. Reflection and Retrospection: A Pedagogical Mystery Story “In writing memoir, the trick, it seems to me, is to establish a double perspective that will allow the reader to participate vicariously in the experience as it was lived (the child’s confusions and misapprehensions, say) while benefiting from the sophisticated wisdom of the author’s adult self. [...] I have always been deeply attracted to just those passages where the writing takes an analytical, interpretative, generalizing turn: they seem to me the dessert, the reward of prose.” (26) What suggestions does Lopate make as to how the writer can develop this double perspective?