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The Importance of Personal Writing in Write for Your Life by Anna Quindlen

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Anna Quindlen’s Write for Your Life begins with the movie ‘Freedom Writers’, in which teacher Erin Gruwell deals with the difficulties of teaching to a class of disconnected inner-city students by handing out “marbled composition books and the assignment to write their lives, ungraded, unjudged’. Ms. Quindlen then shows Gruwell’s ways to connect with these students by allowing them to freely express themselves through writing and explained it as being a means of “therapy” for them. Gruwell then explains what she sees as a major problem in modern society: the end of ‘everyday prose’. Instead of just summarizing the film, Quindlen chose to use a several examples of dialogue from students in the movie of what was in their journals, this really helps to make the characters feel as real as possible to the reader and to get the reader to experience and understand their situations. This leaves a lasting impact on the reader because the very matter-of-fact tone of each quote and is very effective because it shocks the audience, one that really stood out to me was ‘If you pull up my shirtsleeves and look at my arms, you will see black and blue marks.’ This really paints a picture in the readers mind.

To begin, Quindlen argues that personal writing is very important as we try to understand the world. She uses several persuasive techniques like citing reports and referencing films and text. The story is well organized with a clear focus. Quindlen begins with textually analyzing the film Freedom Writers and explains that “writing can make pain tolerable”. She then argues why society has moved away from this type of writing. Using the film in this example helps to support her claim that “[writing…[makes] the self stronger”. Quindlen also uses another persuasive technique, she builds a stronger appeal to emotion when she mentions 9/11. She mentions the touch senses and the importance of physical writing rather than an internet post or text with a cell phone.

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Furthermore, I believe Quindlen’s purpose is very clear, people now do not write personally anymore and that is a problem for society. Her audience is people, most likely students, growing up in the technology age and don’t get their emotions out by writing their thoughts down. My stance on this topic is: I think Quindlen is genuine in her belief that people are not wring personally anymore but I believe she has missed a large part of personal writing, blogging and other social media. When you think of blogs the first thing that might come to mind is political blogs, but many blogs and other social medias are online journals that detail the daily thoughts and experiences of the writer. ‘Words on paper confer a kind of immortality,’ Quindlen writes. But I believe sometimes electronic post can be more effective, online post can be shared with a much larger audience much faster and easier. You don’t have to wait to get your work published or be a creditable author all you need is a keyboard, or a cell phone and you can reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of followers or maybe just your close friends.

To conclude, I believe Anna Quindlen made an excellent argument and used effective persuasive techniques including citing reports, referencing, ethos and using the film painted an excellent picture in my mind and compelled a strong message, but Ms. Quindlen seems to be unaware of the world of online post and blogs. I think if she were to learn a bit more on the vastness of the internet blog scene, she might change her mind on this topic.

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