Essay The Authorial Voice

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Writing from the soul about one’s own life experiences can take on a much different feeling than any other style of writing. There is an intrinsic, gut-churning feel of risk within the process of telling the truth. A risk that gives a certain adrenaline rush, all while allowing one to reflect. The adventure of sharing ones own story can feel scary and relieving, both chaining and freeing. Harriet Jacobs and John Edgar Wideman undergo this while telling their stories, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Jacobs) and Our Time (Wideman). Each author is self-conscious throughout their stories. Both authors speak about a minority in their stories; Jacobs speaks of the female slave and Wideman speaks of the African-American gangster. Because …show more content…

But Jacobs is not only making this point clear to the reader; she is making it clear to herself. In writing her story, Jacobs comes to terms with herself.
Wideman, similar to Jacobs, employs the use of questioning the reader. While struggling with the issue of telling his brother's story without making it his own, he asks the reader a string of numerous questions:
"And if I did learn to listen, wouldn't there be a point at which I'd have to take over the telling? Wasn't there something fundamental in my writing, in my capacity to function that depended on flight, on escape? Wasn't another person's skin a hiding place, a place to work out anxiety, to face threats too intimidating to handle in any other fashion? Wasn't writing about people a way of exploiting them?"(Wideman 709).
Wideman, who seems uncomfortable with his relationship between his brother, the text, and himself, makes his problems obvious. He does this in order to make the reader’s ask themselves the same questions then put themselves in his place. This bombardment of questions delivers the reader into a state of confusion and frustration similar to that of Wideman.
The questions in this case, are an extremely effective rhetorical method because the answer is split, and makes the reader feel the same conflict that the writer struggles with. While it is inevitable that the story, being a product of the Wideman, must incorporate Wideman himself, his

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