Tag Archives: Life Writing

Creating an identity CV

7 Jan

I recently read a poem by Ouyang Yu entitled ‘An Identity CV‘.  In this poem, Yu seeks to represent his identity in the form of a resume.  The poem is interesting in that it captures the complexities, nuances, and shifting nature of identity.

Using this poem as inspiration, I would like to run an activity in which each of my students creates his or her own identity CV.  I think this would be an interesting way for students to start thinking about representing self.  I also think it could be interesting to ask students to complete the task from two different perspectives (perhaps their own and their community’s), thus helping them to understand how self-construction of identity and the perception of others can be quite different.

REVIEW: Soldier Boy

4 Jan

As part of my holiday reading binge I have also read Anthony Hill’s Soldier Boy.  This text is based on the true story of Australia’s youngest ANZAC, Jim Martin.

The text itself was interesting, charting the experiences and emotions of a boy (pretending to be a man) during war.  Also interesting were the primary sources included in the text.  However, the text often presented as a recount, making it difficult to completely immerse oneself the wartime setting or the perspectives of those mentioned in the texts.

In summary, this text would be an interesting way in to a unit on war poetry or life writing for a junior class.  However, I am not sure I would teach it as a stand alone text in another context.

‘Hotel Rwanda’

5 Jul

Hotel Rwanda is a filmic representation of Paul Rusesabagina’s attempts to save over 1000 people by offering them shelter in a hotel that he was managing during the Rwandan genocide.

This film would be an interesting addition to my (still hypothetical) unit ‘Representing the Self‘ as it raises some interesting questions about the purposes of representing lives.  Is the intention, for example, to showcase Rusesabagina’s bravery and courage, or is to draw attention to the horrors of the genocide? Can it do both?  If it does both, is the film’s status as a biographical text lessened?

‘Kwa Heri Mandima’

4 Jul

As part of my research for the (still hypothetical) ‘Representing the Self’ unit, I came across a short film entitled Kwa Heri Mandima.  The film tells the story of a young European boy’s departure from the village in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).  In less than ten minutes, it flags the boy’s formative experiences in the village, and his relationships with other members of the community.  It also touches upon important questions about identity, expression and knowledge.

It would be an interesting addition to the unit as the narrative is told from a second person perspective, allowing for an unexpected lessening of distance between subject and audience.   If I were using this as part of a lesson, I would be asking students to comment on the effect of this perspective and, perhaps to transform a first person autobiographical text into second person and then to discuss the effect of this change.

Representing the Self

2 Jul

I am interested in running a unit entitled ‘Representing the Self’ as a way of introducing students in Year 9 or 10 to the choices made by composers when creating or adapting autobiographical and biographic texts.

Interesting possible questions to discuss could include:

(1) What are the difficulties of representing reality?

(2) Whose perspectives matter?

(3) For what purposes are biographical and autobiographical texts created?

(4) How does one represent the self?