The Self Simplified- A Student’s Tool Kit

Mission Statement: We are determined to simplify the critical jargon presented in the Tool Kit of Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson’s book “Reading Autobiography”in order to provide to all those in the Blogosphere a way of interpreting and analyzing autobiographies (or “Self Life Writing”) in an effective and simple manner while additionally providing our own real life examples.

Upon closer exploration of our blog you will see that we have provided our own definitions of each item from the Tool Kit and a concrete textual example, as well as a personal account from our own lives that demonstrates the ideas presented at the beginning of each post. Thus, you will sense a definitive pattern to our posts. Definition, textual example, personal experience. Additionally, we were pretty set on presenting our blog posts in a consistent, cohesive format but eventually decided that in the spirit of collaborative autobiography, we’d present our posts as we did them individually. So ultimately, the synthesis of our self-representation has led to a pretty dynamic and diverse presentation of our critical analysis as well as creative content. It should be noted as well that our work load was pretty even. Joe has longer, at time, more in-depth individual posts but I (Mary Alice) did all the technical work in creating the blog, formatting it, adding pictures, etc. as well as the proposal/introductory posts.

We decided to do this project because we wanted to give clear definitive answers to some of the many questions put forth by Smith and Watson. What we mean by this is simply that the Tool Kit consists of questions for inquisitive readers to ask him/herself when reading an autobiographical text. Our Tool Kit consists of answers in regards to the specific texts we have read supported by critical and creative examples.

You’ll notice that the posts will, for the most part have the same date. This is because we are working as a group and doing a good portion of these posts on our own and have decided to review them all together at the end and decide as a team what order to post them in based on relativity to one another.

As far as problems go, we had two main issues, one of design and one of content. As our proposal states (which you can view here), we wanted to do a “Prezi” originally but with that much text in a visual presentation, it looked more like aesthetic vomit than anything else. So, after seeing the success of other student blogs in addition to the obvious success of our class blog, Auto[blog]raphy, we decided that the best format for our presentation would we to create a blog. Our issue of content was that this project ended up being a ton of work. In effect, we doubled our blogging for the semester by doing an additional twenty-six blog posts between us. In each post, there is both critical and creative interpretations, essentially touching upon both realms of analysis that we worked with this semester. Furthermore, choosing which text represented each term most fittingly was a challenge. We had to condition ourselves to fit a text to the term instead of vise versa. For instance, Joe was trying to use Cabeza de Vaca for Relationality because he liked the text, but eventually realized that the Slave Narratives best represented the term.

All in all, we hope that this blog will serve as a cohesive study guide for ourselves, the class, and the external readers of the blog.

LINK: Our wonderful, awesome blog!


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