Autobiographical Significance

Autobiographical Significance

Writers convey the significance of events by telling how they felt and what they thought at the time the event occurred and by telling what they think now as they look back on the event. Here’s an example from Brandt’s essay where she presents her remembered feelings and thoughts:

I felt like a terrible human being. I would rather have stayed in jail than confront my mom right then. I dreaded each passing minute that brought our encounter closer. (par. 35)

The following example from Dillard’s essay shows the writer’s reflections looking back on the event from her present perspective:

. . . what precisely could he have done to prolong the drama of the chase and cap its glory? I brooded about this for the next few years. (par. 20)



Obviously, in writing about his father’s illness and death, Ellis has chosen a subject that is inherently significant — both important in his life and deeply meaningful.

To analyze how Ellis presents his remembered feelings and thoughts as well as his present perspective, follow these suggestions:

Reread paragraphs 6–10, where Ellis alternates dialogue with thoughts he had but didn’t express at the time, and highlight the remembered thoughts.

Reread paragraphs 22–24 and highlight in another color Ellis’s present reflec- tions from his perspective.

Write a few sentences explaining what you learn about Ellis from his remem- bered thoughts and from his present perspective.

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