Choose one of the following prompts to write a 500 words response: 1. At the beginning of the book, Qiu Miaojin instructs, “If this book should be published, readers can begin anywhere.” How does this device of “begin anywhere” affect your understanding of this book? Why do you think Qiu instructed her reader to “begin anywhere?” 2. What is the relationship between fiction and autobiography? We tend to think these are two disparate genres. In this book, however, the narrator’s life and its author’s life seem to overlap. How has this book challenged our notions of literary genres, and why do you think Qiu has collapsed the distinction between these two genres? Professor says: Your writing should be true and beautiful and good. That is all. I want your writing to be true, which means it shows that you are reading your primary text closely, perceptively, attuned to subtexts between the lines and contexts beyond the lines, and that you are not lying to yourself about what is actually in the text because you’d like the text to be something that is easy or familiar or comfortable. If you write the truth with enough subtlety, passion, and judicious use of your own verbal palette, your writing will not only be true, but beautiful. You’ve been told that the truth is ugly. No. Truth is beautiful. Even ugly truth can be beautiful. If your writing is both true and beautiful, it means that you are being honest, responsible and generous to yourself and your reader; it means that your writing constitutes a moral good, that you have honored the ethical promise implied––just like the one implied by a face that looks up in greeting––by any words on a page, even before we read them. (But, like, whatevs, tl;dr, no pressure…) I attached the reading and the rubric for a short response.
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