Autobiography "I"

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When reading the article "Hegemony or Concordance? The Rhetoric of Tokenism in "Oprah" Winfrey's Rags-to-Riches Biography" I found the (partial) sentence of "in autobiography, "the narrative 'I' becomes a fictive persona." The section prior to this sentence and this sentence made me start to think about autobiographies in a different light. I have two older brothers who grew up in the exact same household as me with the exact same parents, yet all of us had very different experiences and beliefs about what are childhood was like. Our perceptions of the same years are all very different from each other and even more different than our parents perceptions of that year. While I may be completely off point here, I just can't get this idea out of my head. What I find interesting is that all this time I knew this about my own family and, while I dislike autobiographies in general, I never thought that autobiographies are all based on the perception of the writer and not necessarily based on hard facts. I'm wondering if anyone else had a similar realization or experience while reading this section or if it was just me.

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I also came to this realization while reading. My sister and I are the same way. When we are together we argue occasionally about certain situations and how we were raised, because we view them completely differently. I think it would be difficult to write an autobiography based solely on fact however, because the reason people want to read them is to get a bit of the author's feelings and perceptions on those situations--since that is why they are the way they are now. I suppose the best way to write it would be to state basically what happened and then their own thoughts on the event.

I got to thinking about that as well. I do read autobiographies from time to time but I guess I never really thought about it in terms of how different that same story would be from another person's point of view, even within the same family. In retrospect, I realize that, for example, Portia de Rossi's story in her book Unbearable Lightness would have been perceived completely differently from the perspective of her friends or family during her struggles with eating disorders. I notice the differences between experiences between my brother and myself as well - despite being brought up in basically the same environment, we came out of that with fairly different beliefs and experiences. It is interesting to consider.

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This page contains a single entry by merri296 published on September 16, 2011 9:42 AM.

"Near Universality" and Other Scary Things was the previous entry in this blog.

"Oprah" Winfrey's Rags-to-Riches Biography is the next entry in this blog.

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