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Non-Western Memoirs. Using memoirs from Africa, Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Latin and South America to make connections. What is style?. What is a writer’s style?

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non western memoirs

Non-Western Memoirs

Using memoirs from Africa, Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Latin and South America to make connections

what is style
What is style?
  • What is a writer’s style?
    • On a scrap sheet of paper, take about a minute to brainstorm words or phrases that come to mind when someone asks you to examine a work’s (or a specific author’s) writing style.
style is
Style is…
  • not what is written, but the way an author puts together words, phrases, and ideas.
  • “…the literary element that describes the ways that the author uses words – the author’s word choice, sentence structure, figurative language, and sentence arrangement all work together to establish mood, images, and meaning in a text” (Gardner).
style includes
Style includes
  • Diction – Does the writer use a great deal of jargon? Does the piece rely on slang or more formal vocabulary?
  • Sentence Structure – Does the writer rely on short, terse sentences? Does the writer string together multiple clauses and phrases? Does the writer use parallel structure within the text?
  • Point of View – Does the writer tell the story from a first person point of view? Is the writer’s third person point of view biased?
  • Narration Style – What figurative language devices does the writer use? Metaphors? Similes? Personification?
  • Tone – Do the writer’s words convey sincerity or is the writer being sarcastic?
  • Sentence Arrangement – How does the writer chose to organize the elements of the story? Are sentences arranged chronologically or is the story written as a stream-of-consciousness piece?
applying style
Applying style
  • Keep our descriptive words and definition for style in mind as you read the following piece. As you read, take note of words, phrases, or passages that clue you in to the work’s style.
  • As you read, ask yourself: How is this written?
what is a memoir
What is a memoir?
  • A memoir is a non-fiction text that
    • Focuses on a specific period in the writer’s life
    • Uses a narrative structure
    • Describes events and explains/shows the significance, usually of high emotional content
    • Reflects on a significant relationship between the author and a person, place, or object
    • Centers on a problem and resolution
    • Remains in first person
  • How is a memoir different from an autobiography?
why use memoirs in the classroom
Why use memoirs in the classroom?
  • “…learning about someone else’s life invites us our own self-perspectives but also broadens our knowledge and understanding of lives that are outside of our narrow experience” (Bomer 12).
    • Reading memoirs encourages self-reflection
    • Reading memoirs exposes students to various beliefs, experiences, and events outside of their daily lives
    • Reading memoirs teaches students about other perspectives
  • “It’s how we connect to each other, how we find out that other people feel the way we do. It is also how we learn about lives that are vastly different from our own so that our minds and hearts can stretch to understand how life is for others” (Bomer 2).
    • Reading memoirs encourages students to make connections
  • “Writers know that the smaller the moment, the tinier the detail, the more it resonates with readers and the more it surprises” (Bomer 3).
    • Reading memoirs encourages students to think about how writers engage their readers
  • “…it is the most democratic of all kinds of writing” (Bomer 12).
    • Because memoirs can be written by anyone, they demonstrate to students that anyone can be a writer

Bomer, Katherine. Writing a Life: Teaching Memoir to Sharpen Insight, Shape Meaning--and Triumph Over Tests.

advantages of using texts written by non western authors
Advantages of using texts written by non-western authors
  • Broadens students’ cultural horizons
  • Aids in the articulation of shared and differing values
  • Exposes students to a variety of writing styles
  • Exposes students to a variety of themes
  • Builds critical thinking skills
  • Builds empathy
  • In an world growing smaller through technological advances, non-western literature helps our students become better global citizens
how might non western memoirs be used in the classroom
How might non-western memoirs be used in the classroom
  • Take a moment to brainstorm how non-western memoirs might be used in our classrooms.
  • Let’s create a list together.
  • Bomer, Katherine. Writing a Life: Teaching Memoir to Sharpen Insight, Shape Meaning--and Triumph Over Tests. Portsmouth, NH: Heinmann, 2005.
  • Dong, Yu Ren. “Taking a Culture-Response Approach to Teaching Multicultural Texts.” English Journal. Jan. 2005. 55-60. National Council for Teachers of English. 29 July 2008 <>.
  • Gardner, Traci. “Style: Defining and Exploring an Author’s Stylistic Choices.” Read Write Think. 2002-2008. International Reading Association. 29 July 2008 <>.
  • “Supporting Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Learnersin English Education.” Conference on English Education. 2005. National Council for Teachers of English. 29 July 2008 <>.