Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

nonfiction as fiction
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Author:  Stephanie Helmer [ Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  nonfiction as fiction

Has anyone else been made uncomfortable by the author of "Hope" writing as if his book is a piece of fiction with a third person, omniscient narrator? I have no qualms with making nonfiction more interesting, but the author, by not making his process of information gathering transparent, leads me to wonder how fictionalized parts of this treatise are.

- Was he with Cedric practically every moment of everyday?
- How would that affect the behavior of those around him which the author is then transcribing and putting into a book?
- He writes as if he is in not only the heads of Cedric, but Barbara, Cedric, Sr., Zayd and his parents, Chiniqua, the tutor lady...and on and on. He only knows what they tell him about their thoughts and emotions, but we know he changes their words in the interest of craft. How much does he re-interpret in the process? Consciously or sub-consciously.

Not that I seriously doubt what has occured in this narrative about Cedric, but I wonder how the players felt about their portrayal afterwords. Sometimes I hardly know what is really going on in my mind and heart. And, I would have major problems with someone else thinking they knew better.

Author:  Nicki Boyette [ Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

Wow....that is a really good point! I hadn't thought about the book in that light. I've enjoyed reading it because the flow was so much smoother, and it drew me in. But I didn't think to consider that this meant that some of the work would be fictionalized. You are absolutey right and that is a valid concern.

Author:  April Eichmiller [ Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  narrator

I have to take another look at the description of the book. I read the story as a fictionalized work. I did not interpret the characters as real individuals for the reasons you mentioned (the fact that the narrator could not have the intimate knowledge he writes of). The characters almost work to represent certain types of individuals. I do agree with Nicki that this style of writing allows the reader to be swept away by the story, and I enjoyed that aspect of it.

Author:  Kristen Billings [ Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Same thoughts

I had some of the same thoughts when reading this book the first time for a different class. I was constantly wondering about the validity of some of the situations that occured and especially during his college years. I knew that this was based on true events, but it was way to personal and detailed about every day of his life to be completely without fiction. I had a problem when reading this book because of this matter. When I read the book for the second time the same things came back up, however I was able to read the book knowing that the overall mood and point the author was trying to make was that Cedric had it hard. Not that others didn't have it hard but this story was about Cedric. It was about his struggle with life and being a smart black kid in a very bad place that didn't struggle as hard for the children of our future. If you made it there, you made it on your own, by your own accord, and it took everything you had. When I first read it, I was unable to see the forest for the trees, however this time, I think I got the bigger picture.

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