Tutor profile: Jillian M.
What do you do when you have writer's block and have nothing to write about?
Writing takes practice, even for those who have years of experience. Writing is not a linear process and it involves many stages before arriving at a final draft. No two writers write the same way or follow the same writing process. You have to find what works for you. However, you can follow the general guidelines of the writing process to help you begin writing. The 5 stages of the writing process are: analyzing the writing situation, discovering or planning, drafting, revising and editing. By following these stages, you will start with brainstorming about your topic and then work on creating a rough draft. Once your rough draft is complete, you will be able to edit and revise to polish your draft into a final version.
How do contemporary, southern writers, like Jesmyn Ward, confront historical racial issues in a place that perpetuates that history?
Jesmyn Ward’s novels, Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones, present an up-close view of various types of black bodies. Since Ward’s novels are set in southern Mississippi, her characters live in a community that perpetuates the mistreatment of black bodies long after slavery has been abolished. Ward joins other African-American writers who have used literature as a means to confront racial injustices and inequalities that have existed in the United States since “the experience of the Middle Passage” (Peterson X). Historically, the black body has been “subject[ed] to examination and speculation” and disconnected from the spirit in an effort to reduce the black body to a soulless, animalistic form (X). Ward shows the racial struggles her characters face that prevent them from having individual identities and personal agency. Through her writing, Ward gives voice to marginalized, black figures who were never able to have a voice in the south due to their race. By giving voices to those without them, Ward individualizes the black body experience and affords her characters the agency of becoming visible. Peterson, Carla L. “Foreword: Eccentric Bodies.” Recovering the Black Female Body: Self- Representations by African American Women, edited by Michael Bennet and Vannessa D. Dickerson, Rutgers University Press, 2001, pp. XI-VXII. eBook Collection.
Why is it important to read and study older works of literature in contemporary times? Aren't the issues presented in older works irrelevant to the issues our world faces today?
Though the problems people faced in previous centuries are not the exact same problems we face today in the 21st century, it is still important and relevant to read older works of literature. Many have said that history repeats itself. An important part of reading older literature is to learn the history of different parts of the world. Through literature, we can learn about each period of time in history and the influences that shaped the way in which people lived. Literature is an expression of the human experience throughout time. Literature reveals human desire and captures the very essence of what it means to be human. Literature is a medium that allows writers to explore themes and issues that are timeless and that all humans face, regardless of the time they live in. Every human experiences times of sadness and uncertainty, joy and happiness. Every human loses something or someone close to them and experiences grief. And every human eventually has to come to terms with their own mortality. Literature shows us the raw reality of our finite lives on earth and reminds us that we are not alone.
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