Autobiography post 1

October 13th, 2010

David Sedaris Essay

Posted by Tricia Zephyr in Uncategorized

David Sedaris

“Your life, your privacy, your occasional sorrow- it’s not like you’re going to do anything with it. Is this the brother I always was, or the brother I have become?”  (p. 155)

This quote makes me think of the autobiographical process of writing the self because it is realized that the cliché ” that no man is an island”, is true. David Sedaris is using other people’s experiences and he is more than re-transcribing, but rather retelling the story- making it his story.  One must wonder if autobiography is mainly about the ownership of the story, meaning that the story teller is able take a story and because he/she is telling it, it is theirs. People often like genre of autobiography because of then validity of it. We feel as if it is not fiction. ” … Not that it is insincere but we have a different knowledge today than yesterday; such knowledge can be summarized as follows: What I write about myself is never truly the last word: the more sincere I am, the more interpretable I am, under the eye of other examples than those of the old authors who believed they were required to submit themselves to but one law: authenticity. ( Barthes, 1977:120) This quote states that for some, the “law of authenticity” is something that should be adhered to for something to be a true autobiography, but offered in the book Autobiography in which the previous quote was extrapolated from, offers a contradictory statement. “… Recognizing that a coherent self is a fiction, that it must always involve being seen from a distance, through the perspective of the Other”, writes Barthes by Barthes. These two quotes display the duality and the complexity of autobiography. The juxtaposition between these two quotes goes back to owning the story. It makes one question what is reality and what is actuality, but quite frankly it doesn’t matter. When one takes ownership of a story, even though it may be altered,  we see that story through their lens, and the validity of the story is automatically assumed.

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