A Summer Life Zinsser Analysis

Decent Essays

In “How to Write a Memoir” William Zinsser gives very detailed and important advice to writers interested in writing a memoir. He gives the specific advice of “Be yourself,” “Speak Freely,” and “Think Small” (Zinsser, 2, 4, 6). These tips advise writers to not only think about what they want to say in their story but also how they want to tell their story. Many memoir authors choose to follow this advice and write their story using these points, but many do not. In the memoir “A Summer Life”, Gary Soto follows Zinsser’s writing advice through his use of writing from the point of view of a young child, speaking freely about his early life events, and writing about his life in small structure chapters. William Zinsser states that he believes …show more content…

Gary Soto follows this advice extraordinarily. In the chapter “The Pie” he talks about a time as a young boy stealing a pie, and feeling a bit guilty afterwards. “…sneaked the pie behind my coffee lid Frisbee…” (Soto, 55). Stealing is a quite the touchy subjects, but Soto was not afraid to write about this event because he followed Zinsser’s advice and spoke freely. He did not fuss over the idea that his family and friends might be disappointed in him and instead focused on getting the memory out as he remembered, keeping all the important details in and explaining his emotions while this occurred thoroughly and with depth. He wrote it truthfully and honestly the way he remembered …show more content…

Zinsser says “Tackle your life in easily manageable chunks .” (Zinsser, 34). In a chapter titled “The Hand Break” Soto tells the story of when he made a handbrake to help him stop and start while running down the street. “… function was to help me stop when I came racing to the end of the street.” (Soto, 13). Even though this was not a huge event in his life that created a catastrophic outcome, this is an important memory to him, which is why he shared it. This is Soto striking a “universal truth” (Zinsser, 30) which Zinsser says will help the reader relate to the memoir. Gary Soto told a story of being a young boy inventing something that he thought fun and unique, which almost everyone who still has memories locked away in their brain of being a child can relate

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