Personal Narrative

This first writing assignment takes us beyond what we sometimes elicit in our individual seminars to get a sense of who we are as a learning community (where you're from, some special interests, talents, events which help define you) but any of those items may be a starting point for your two to three page paper. This assignment is due on Monday, October 6 at the beginning of class.

On Monday you worked on a Personal Inventory during class, in which you responded to a number of specific questions. Now we're looking for a Personal Essay wherein you help the reader know who you are, but especially how the Prodigal Son or Prodigal Daughter written pieces (and/or the ballet and bluegrass song) based on such archetypal experiences impels you to communicate what “leaving home” or “coming home” means to you, not in the abstract but in your own lived experience. You're always free to write PLEASE DON'T READ IN CLASS if you write on such a personal issue sometime, which you prefer to keep between you and your professor.

Details, specifics, about family, relationship, rejection, or forgiveness will help your reader appreciate what Flannery O’Connor once called “the struggle to make love work.” Life is a struggle, and a blessing, and a process, and a torment, and an adventure. Help us see what you see, feel what you feel. Show us the scene. First person narration is important here. We are beings that exist in time, and your life is not fixed at any one point. See your story as a process. Avoid “you” (work with “I”) and realize that third person narration, e.g., “many of Shakespeare's plays have a rising and a falling action” is more appropriate for Academic Essays. Yep, you'll get to take a whack at one of those soon too, but not this week.