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Diamond P. Wise Prof.

Ingram Genre Analysis 10/10/13 Part One: High School Genre In order to understand genre, we all have to read and write different types of it and sometimes even analyze it, even when we did not know it. During my senior year in high school I had to complete a project that involved me analyzing a memoir titled Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje. Running in the Family is a fictional memoir that explores Michael Ondaatje’s native land. Ondaatje was able to combine his magic realism and post-modern style to create his memoir about his family and his roots. Throughout the memoir there are many different sections. But I will only be focusing on two of the sections while dealing with the main components of the analysis. Luckily, I was given the task of describing in detail the summaries, significances, symbols, themes etc. of each and every section, not just two. Was this by choice? Of course not, it was for a grade in my IB English class, based off of the IB rubric for analyzing literary works. Though it was tedious and some-what lengthy, this type of genre is extremely helpful and successful in assisting student like you and I comprehend what we read. The pros of this type of genre out-weigh the cons. To begin, my analysis of Running in the Family began with summarizing each section. Along with summarizing the sections I also had to show the significance of them as well. For example, in the section Asian Rumors, I stated, “The significance of the section Asian rumors was to basically set the stage for the entire

memoir. In the first chapter “Asia” Michael is having a dream that is filled with imagery and is essentially foreshadowing what will happen later on in the memoir. The “dream” is what was the most significant within the chapter because the author foreshadows different circumstances and situations that the author would encounter later on in the memoir.” Usually, whenever Mr. Walls (my senior English teacher) would tell us to analyze anything there was always an IB rubric and guideline I had to follow. Especially when having to discuss the significance(s). In order to receive credit for my work, I had to directly state in my text, “the significance of this is that it caused…” One of the main things that are shown through my literary analysis is that a lot of what I said is pretty much to the point. Yes, there are some details, but mostly I described what is was and directly stated what was significant about it. To add to that, I had to summarize the text once I pointed out the significance of it. Maybe you all have never had this little problem called “condensing”, but fortunately I ran in to it more than once. This was difficult to do, but it paid off in the long run because it showed me how to get to the point in my essays and papers I had later on and even all the way up to college. Here is an example of a summarization of the section A Fine Romance, “Demonstrates Mervyn Ondaatje and Doris Grataien journey to love and eventually marriage. Mervyn saw and met Doris in the gardens of Deal Place. Doris was a dancer and her soon to be husband became extremely found of her and in a short period of time dumped his fiancé to marry Doris. Further on into the section, on the way to the wedding they run into the pastor who is supposed to marry them is in a ditch on the side of the road, He now has to drive due to the lack of space in the fiat.” Summaries are very explicit whenever you analyze a memoir, novel or poem. Meanwhile, the context that is seen as significant is implicit, it can differ from person to person; therefore, stating the significance to a part of a text is never definite

because it is based off of interpretation or what the rubric, teacher and mostly student decides. The next step that was taken was to weed out the themes, symbols and motifs. This is a part of the rubric that was highly enforced by my teacher. I can understand why these parts of the text are pulled to the for-front because they act as the base of the text. Without these pieces of the puzzle there would be no value to the literary text. This type of genre helps the audience figure out exactly what was going on the author’s brain. In my analysis of A Fine Romance, I gave an example of a reoccurring symbol in the memoir, “A snake appeared in the house almost every day was symbolized as the father (in Michael’s perspective) because no matter how many times the mother would try to kill (from a close range) the snake, she could never kill it. But other snakes that came in and out of the house were able to be killed. The snake seemed to be protecting them because it followed the children around the house, not harming anything or anyone. The idea of having this, hard to obtain, balance of short, sweet and detailed writing does make sense. It can be seen as a success due to the fact that it helps students (you and I) learn different skills when it comes to being very precise and direct. Also, it helps the teacher grade the assignment easily and can help smooth out any class discussions that might go on when dealing with this subject. Moreover, the rubric is successful for giving a legitimate break down of what an analysis can and should look like.

Part 2: College Genre In college, there will be many different genres that we will and already have come in contact with. High school writing classes and course outlines are so much different in comparison to college writing courses. College writing really gears towards the true meaning and purpose of writing. Forcing us, the students, to get in to our own thoughts, gather them up, organize them in to decent and well-structured sentences and write them on paper. It all depends on the preference. You see, that is the point with most of the genres that we will be studying in college, most of the time it solely depends on our preference. But, still keeping in mind what type of genre you are writing about and the rubric the professor has given you. The college text that I chose to analyze is my third blog post for our English course. This type of genre is informational and the writing techniques along with the content of the blog is usually left up to the author. The purpose of writing my blog post was to describe how literacy impacts my life on a daily basis and discuss what form of literacy was discussed in my Literacy narrative essay. Later on in the blog I discussed miscellaneous things, simply stating hobbies or interests that I have. To begin, I started explaining literacy from the beginning in my own way and how it has started to pop-up everywhere around me. Here is an example of the text, “Literacy, doesn’t that word just frighten you? Yeah I know, it doesn’t scare me either. But maybe it is because I never really paid attention to it. Have you ever done something or had something for so long that you did not know that you had until someone brought it to your attention, then all of a sudden you became scared of it, or you noticed it everywhere you went? That is what Ms. Ingram has done to me! I honestly try to identify everything to literacy now. For example: food, how to cook food, understanding how to cook food, the calories in food, healthy food and unhealthy food. It has gotten ridiculous.”

I was attempting to incorporate my real life experiences with literacy to show that literacy is actually everywhere. Such as social literacy which is the example of literacy that I focused on for my literacy narrative assignment. In the excerpt above, one of my main focuses was to grab the reader’s attention and once that was accomplished start explaining how you all could try to relate and see that literacy is actually all around us, even though most of you all understand that after being in Professor Ingram’s class after a while. Furthermore, the messages that were relayed through my text were all explicit. I got to the point and gave examples of the points that I made about literacy. For example, here is a quote from the second paragraph of my blog, “My definition of literacy is to fully understand a topic, a lifestyle, a hobby, or anything that has something that can be learning experience. With that being sad there are a lot of things that can be a learning experience so anything can almost be related to literacy… experiences with my peers really showed me how to be social around many different types of people with different backgrounds and different morals and values. I now can say that if I am ever put into a situation where I feel isolated or might be the sore thumb in the room I know how to handle it by mostly just being confident in myself as a person, student, and an adult”. In this quote, you can see that I gave my own definition of literacy, as stated in the rubric to do so. Also, I later included how social literacy helped me become a better person. Making sure I not only gave a definition for literacy, but provided evidence that it can be used in more than one way. The value of this text was to display that literacy is used for more than just English and writing courses, but everyday life, such as social literacy. Next, to fulfill the requirements of the rubric and actually meet the standards of this type of genre, there was a free-write section of my blog. This is where I discussed anything that I felt

like discussing. As you all know, in most blogs it is expected for the author of the blog to state his or her opinion and just express anything that comes to their mind. An excerpt from my blog states, “I am in love with animals even though the only pets I have had were three hermit crabs and that was only because they were about $2.98 plus tax at Pet-Smart (besides the fact that my mother was scared of anything with four legs besides herself, I had to settle for them). Sadly, two of them were killed and I think partly eaten by the big hermit crab that was in the cage. He was the first crab in the cage so I guess he felt like they were invading his privacy. It was cool having them for the couple of months that I did. It is crazy they survived; I barely fed them because they never ate”. By expressing one of my experiences I was interested in I fulfilled the requirements of the rubric; meanwhile, fulfilling the requirements for the genre. In conclusion, this type of genre usually does not have many rules, except to express the author’s opinion and allow discussions for the intended audience who often offers responses to the author’s opinion(s). My example text is the blog genre that is seen in some entry college level writing classes and I believe my example was successful in describing or exemplifying the blog genre and most of the requirements that goes a long with it. On the other hand, since it was a class assignment there were some restraints due to the directions that I had to follow in the rubric. In all, the objective was to follow and fulfill all of the requirements for the assignment given by my professor and stay within the realm of the blog genre, and I believe that was accomplished.

Part 3: Conclusion Now that I have completed analyzing my two texts, I believe I have a much better and in depth understanding of genre, the rules, and who can control or alter different types of genre. By analyzing both of the texts I was able to see many similarities and differences within them and also within the specific genres. Furthermore, the conflict of high school and college is also prevalent between the two texts. Both of the texts were challenging to analyze, but I learned some things about analyzing “genre” itself that could help the next incoming freshman. The two example texts, Running in the Family and my blog post both show some similarities. The similarities lie within the genre as well as the way it was analyzed as a whole. For example, the memoir and the blog posts both had to have definitions or be explained by my own interpretation of whatever topic I analyzed. For my blog post the key terms that had to be explained or defined form my point of view was literacy and social literacy, meanwhile, the memoir I had to either explain or define things such as summarization of the section, tone, mood, and motifs (etc.) They were similar due to the action that was taken to fully analyze them and meet the requirements for the rubric, defining and explaining specific aspects of the texts were the similarities. To add to that, the texts were similar because they both had certain genre requirements specific rob the rubric and the genre itself. Both of the genres technically has a rule that states anything goes. For chapter analysis and blogs you may or may not have guidelines, it depends on if you have a rubric for the assignment. In this case, there was a rubric involved and I was still able to complete and analyze the texts without overstepping the boundaries for these genres. I was still able to meet the criteria and explain the points in my own way and give my own interpretation of what the author was trying to say, as well as what I was trying to say. Next, the differences prevail as well in these two texts. Some of the differences between

the two deal with the genre itself and the other differences pertain to the actual content. One of the differences pertaining to the genre is the obvious one, they are both different genres, one is a blog genre and the other is a memoir analysis genre. With that being said, the memoir analysis has to have certain key terms and there are certain aspects of a text that have to be pointed out such as: the authors purpose, pros and cons, setting, themes, metaphors etc. On the other hand, the blog genre does not specify what the topic have to be or state specific requirements. The author is the one in control, unless there is a rubric involved. Since there was, there we're some points I had to discuss, but overall I chose the way the blog was set up and how I would discuss my points. Once my points had been made, I then had the option to discuss about whatever I feltlike talking about. Furthermore, in terms of content the two texts are very different. One is discussing, the definition of literacy and reminiscing about the pet hermit crabs I once had, meanwhile, the other is just giving a detailed description of what themes, motifs, and symbols we're used in one of the chapters of a memoir. While I analyzing my two example text, I kept in mind that one of the text is from my high school writing class and the other was one is from my college writing class. The rivalry between the two genres should not be. They are just different types of genres that can assist each student at the time and place of their levels of learning. In high school, the three paragraph essay was the main genre for writing class, as well as analyzing any and every novel, memoir and or poem that was given. All of these components are a part of the high school genre and even though they may be very vague they still are beneficial to the student because the student has some sort of foundation. Next, the student comes to college and they get thrown into the college genre. Something totally different and may seem unorthodox, but the good thing about it is that the college genre gears more towards actually writing. So having a foundation of knowing what

it takes to make outlines, pull certain themes and important features of any written text, novel, memoir can be very beneficial. The only thing there is left to do is now to do the writing portion of it, which happens to be the college genre. The things I have learned so far after being introduced to the college genre is to read more. The more you read about a subject, more than likely you will begin to understand more. I know it sounds horrible and somewhat frightening, but that is what worked for me. This is the sort of advice I wish I had been given, well the kind of advice I wish I had listened to when I was in high school. When teachers say the key to knowledge is reading, they are not joking. Finally, I have come to the conclusion that anyone can right the rules for genre. There is not one set author or one set audience. Genre is pretty much everything. It is a certain form in which something maybe be written, performed or anything in that realm, the restrictions that may lie there does distinguish between which genre is which. Also, if there is a rubric involved this may also change or alter the type of genre the essay may be. Overall, the study of genre will never stop, I believe there will always be something new , a new genre, a new way of thinking about genre, and of course a new way of writing about genre. We should rename mother earth to Mother of Genre, it has sort of a ring to it doesn’t it?