Choosing a Form of Narrative
The following four philosophies
come from Richard Fulkerson's article entitled "Four Philosophies
of Composition." They explain the four different perspectives
from which a composition can be understood or read.
When choosing which form
of narrative best reflects your audience and your goals, consider
the following perspectives of composition.
Please keep in mind:
readers will read your narrative with different philosophies on
writing and composition.
philosophy of writing will your audience most likely have or prefer?
of the four philosophies best reflects your goals and needs for
Philosophy #1: Expressive
This type of writing emphasizes the writer and illustrates a process
of self-discovery. An expressive reader values a composition in
which he or she is able to see a personal experience of the narrator
and identifies with the individual's growth or change, a common
Philosophy #2: Mimetic
This type of writing emphasizes a correspondence and relationship
with reality. It involves logical reasoning and the analysis of
a present situation or event with an emphasis on research. A mimetic
reader believes that good writing comes from good thinking and
Philosophy #3: Rhetorical
This type of writing emphasizes the effect on the reader. Called
textbook writers, rhetorical writers relate back to classical
rhetoric and writing styles and techniques that have been established
by great minds of the past. A rhetorical reader likes to read
historical references and ties to a present event or situation.
Philosophy #4: Formalist
This type of writing emphasizes the traits internal to the work
or requirements of a specific task. It stresses the importance
of fulfilling all of the focus areas or standards defined by the
academic community, including such areas as grammar and sentence
structure. A formalistic reader wants to find precise form and
a clear grasp of the required elements of composition.
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