Writing on the Bias

When seeing that the author of this piece was a female, I feel like I could relate more to her, being a female myself. Just like Wallace, I feel like Brodkey wrote more casually and conversation like, so it was easier to understand the reading. Her use of flashbacks and experiences helped the reader understand the reading as well. The part of this piece that really invoked me was when she started talking about literature. Linda commented that, “Literature is scarce. Almost anyone can tell or write stories (even a child can do it). Not just anyone can write literature (most adults cannot), and not just anyone can read it. Literature is an acquired taste…it is acquired through associating with the right people” (page 9). I believe that literature is scarce, especially since texts these days are nothing like how they were back in the 1800s. The meaning and perspective of literature has changed.  As Brodkey mentions later on, “Writing is about following a bias that cuts against the grain, like sewing, writing recognizes the third dimension of seemingly two-dimensional material” (page 21). It’s as if all literature must have a bias, otherwise it is not true literature. Words and sentences must be looked at from different angles and it’s up for us readers to create our own perspective on it. My favorite line in Linda’s piece has to be when she says, “The problem is not that writing cannot be learned, for many have learned to write, but that writing cannot be taught as a set of rules or conventions that must be acquired prior to and separate from performance” (page 22). Throughout all my schooling years and especially in high school, I felt like English was taught too formally and not lenient enough. Everyone writes differently and writing is about setting the mind free and basically perfecting word vomit. No student should be forced to write a certain way because that’s the proper way, or that’s what the teachers were taught themselves. This may be true for just myself, but I believe the best writing comes out when people are not forced to create a structured piece  following certain guidelines. With more and more guidelines, students are turned off from writing and after all, “learning how to write comes follows from wanting to write…”

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3 thoughts on “Writing on the Bias

  1. Hi Ali!

    We had really similar views on Brodkey’s writing piece. Especially about the idea that not everyone can read/write literature. I agree that most people really cannot understand it. I personally struggle with it every time I read a complex piece of writing. I love listening to scholars when they talk about literature because they always point out ideas I miss. I also loved in your blog what you said about students being at a disadvantage from following the concrete rules. I think this is very true and wish we had less strict guidelines sometimes to make writing more fun. bye!

  2. Hi Ali,

    I definitely agree with you about the first part where you mentioned that Brodkey’s piece was easier to understand than Wallace’s. I liked the different quotes you incorporated in your blog post. Reading the part about literature in school makes me wonder if teachers are actually trying to teach their students how to write literature. It’s not easy to learn, obviously, so I feel like these efforts are often fruitless. We can learn how to write formally, but literature is another category in itself and like you said, “follows from wanting to write”.

  3. Hi!
    I also thought that Brodkey’s writing style was fairly easy to read. She wrote in a loose, flowing way and introduced her topics clearly. This style definitely varied from traditional literary pieces that we are used to. I agree with your point that literature is scarce; people seem much more likely to read tabloids and simple books than more complex novels that require a lot of thinking.
    I also liked your discussion of how rigid most English classes are. They seem so focused on grammar and perfection that it completely takes away from the creative aspect of writing that people love to read. Good discussion!

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