Writing Autobiography

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Writing Autobiography
Humanities Course
Course CodeWBIO
Year Of Operation1999
Sites OfferedBTH, CHS
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (1999):

How do we tell the world who we are? What does the world say back to us, and how do we respond? This course explores written representations of the self, with particular interest in how personal stories are also stories of family, cultural heritage, and national identity.

Course readings focus on American autobiography. They feature memoirs that document personal experiences of upheaval in United States history, as well as texts that attempt to define the American experience. Students meet a range of authors, from Benjamin Franklin to Frederick Douglass and from Zora Neale Hurston to Annie Dillard in the 20th century.

Through careful reading of the personal journeys of Americans, students learn to map their own experiences on the page. They write literary essays and personal memoirs to develop their writing skills and learn how organization, sentence variety, and vivid imagery can create strong nonfiction prose. Students read and comment on each other's drafts in small workshop sessions. At the end of the session students have read and discussed the lives and self-representation of diverse American authors, and they have also produced several polished accounts of their experiences.