Time Progression and Reader Investment in Autobiographies
Mentor:Bryan Rasmussen, Assistant Professor, California Lutheran University
Autobiographies have a way to grasp the reader and engross them in the storyline. Although, there are similar elements to fictional stories, autobiographies can have slightly different structure. For example, the time progression is told in a more straightforward fashion in autobiographies, unlike that of fictional narratives, which may contain delayed exposition, as Tomashevsky states. Because autobiographies lack the jumping around of narration and time, the reader can clearly see how each action plays a role in how the speaker’s life turns out. Using Anne Frank’s diary, Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl and Miriam Katin’s graphic autobiography We Are On Our Own, the personal choices in their lives illustrate how their choices affected their lives, or the narrative desire as Peter Brooks states. The reader understands the writer’s growth as well as makes decisions whether they would make the same decisions if they were placed in their situation. In a sense, the reader grows with the writer as the story progresses because of the comprehension of the speaker's choices.