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Non-Fictional Prose Course

tgarber's picture

Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is very interesting and very engaging, and like Smacholdt, I too agree that it reads like a fictional novel. Because of that, it raises many questions for me about how Skloot knows so many details that she incorporates throughout the novel. When she is explaining certain stories, she explains them so vividly that it makes me question how does she know THAT many details. Did she ADD things to make the novel more interesting. I feel that she does. 


Henrietta Lacks

ckosarek's picture

Prose as Experiment

"All writing is experimental . . . It is an attempt to solve a problem, to find a meaning, to discover its own way toward a meaning." - Donald M. Murray

In "Teach Writing as Process, Not Product," Donald Murray stresses that the ideas in a paper are just as important as execution, and that academia too often limits how an idea might be executed in prose. Having written two papers thus far for this class (and with two more to go), I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how well our class has embraced what Murray calls "experimental" in our webpapers.

Smacholdt's picture

Accessible Science

I am really enjoying The Immortal Like of Henrietta Lacks mainly because of the style in which it is written. I keep forgetting that I am reading nonfiction because the book reads so much like a novel. I enjoy the combination of science, narrative, and history that Skloot employs to give the reader the context behind Henrietta’s story.

platano's picture

11/11 Notes

-culture is constructed, other cultures seem “WIERD” to us

-children learn by active teaching = “WIERD” ; parents take active role

-teaching keeps you focused on one goal, doesn’t help w/ brain growth

-every book suggests that another book might give us a fuller picture (kgould’s post on the graphic novel Palestine)

-ckosarek: Ofed Grosbar’s “The Drama of the Suicide Terrorist”

western view: internal, personal, we would never die for a collectivist society, “private act”

eastern: collectivist, feel tied to culture

-Americans don’t have a unified culture to protect

-May not be the view from all of the western countries

-individual interviews, anecdotal

tgarber's picture

Reaction to Path to Paradise

 I feel that Path to Paradise was insightful and allowed me to view “terrorists” in a different perspective, but I feel that Anat ‘s commentary that accompanied the interviews directed me to associate the bombers actions in a cause and effect type way. She illustrated the bombers as victims of their environments and circumstances to explain why they became suicide bombers and I do not feel that her depiction is necessarily accurate.


maht91's picture

The Path to Paradise: A Work of non-fiction?

 Oxford Dictionary defines non-fiction as "prose writing that is based on facts, real events and real people." After I finished reading The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers by Anat Berko, I thought about the extend to which this book is a form of non-fictional writing. Berko does interview Palestinian suicide bombers in prisons. She meets with real people and presents to the reader what the suicide bombers said and felt on their way to committing these suicides bombings. She does overgeneralize and make assumptions on some of the things that she thinks. The book is a reflection and a personal narrative of what Berko captured from the testimonies of the suicide bombers.

pfischer's picture

Smoking warning labels: More effective graphically?


An interesting article I found this morning that relates back to our discussion of imagery vs. text.

“'The use of graphic warnings makes no contribution to the awareness of these risks and serves only to stigmatize smokers and denormalize smoking,” said Anthony Hemsley, a vice president at Commonwealth Brands, the maker of USA Gold cigarettes.

Smacholdt's picture

It's all perspective

I think that something that Berko does well is shed another light on the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. She doesn’t provide many solutions (with the exception of the short paragraph at the end of the conclusion) but she does portray the story from an angle that is unusual for many westerners. I think that we get so stuck in our own opinions and beliefs about this issue that we forget that the opposition also has relevant things to say and ideas which we do not hear on a regular basis.

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