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Diamond P. Wise Prof.

Ingram Genre Analysis 10/10/13 Part One 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.

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