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The Boundaries of Fiction

The Boundaries of Fiction

In this discussion, we explore the boundaries of fiction and how to represent human experiences through fiction and autobiography, with a focus on Anzaldua, Erdrich, Crow Dog, O’Brien and Zabytko. To practice the technical skills of integrating and punctuating quotations to support your ideas, include a quotation with correct citation in each of your answers, and add a reference at the end of your discussion post. Be sure to quote. While it is a good idea to prepare your discussion post off line, be sure to paste such a prepared response into an easily accessible post for this discussion. You will probably have to edit it and add formatting, particularly for any block-quotations. In fact, it is best to prepare your post as a text file stripped of all formatting, as the transfer to the online platform tends to wreck havoc on the formatting–my question numbers are a prime example of this. In “The Red Convertible,” why do Lyman’s efforts to bring Henry back to his former self fail? How does the symbolism of the red convertible mirror what is possible and not possible in the lives of the brothers? What factors make Henry’s rehabilitation so difficult? Compare Zabytco’s fictional account of a soldier’s struggles with O’Brien’s autobiographical account. Which text do you find more compelling? Why? Nonfiction has come under greater public scrutiny, particularly after James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces was discovered to contain fabrications (for more information, go to Other autobiographies that have raised questions include Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memories of a Boy Soldier and I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. Both O’Brien’s “If I Die in a Combat Zone” and Crow Dog’s “Civilize Them with a Stick” come from longer memoirs (for more information, go to and How important is accuracy in a longer memoir? Should memoir writers act like reporters and stick to the facts? Do they have some creative license beyond altering details to protect the privacy of others? If so, how much? Provide rationales for your guidelines.

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