Essential Literary Nonfiction Forms

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Essential Literary Nonfiction Forms There are six forms of literary nonfiction (personal experience, biographical sketch, personal opinion, personal reflection, sense of place, and slice of history). The three forms that are the most important are personal experience, biographical sketch, and a slice of history because these three allow the author to build the story based on the events that they have personally witnessed and can explain in great detail. The short story “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” by Richard Rodriguez uses all three of these forms of literary nonfiction to effectively describe what it was like for a bilingual child to be raised in the public school system thirty years ago. The first, personal experience, is important to every piece of writing. The readers want to know that the author knows what they are talking about. It is like creating a truly great resume the allows your employer to know that you will know how to perform your job functions accurately. Sometimes the details of a writer’s story can be extreme or unbelievable, like in “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” when Rodriguez refers to the move his family made which took them out of their Mexican-American neighborhood. He stated, “…they were not intimidated by those two or three neighbors who initially tried to make us unwelcome. (‘Keep your brats away from my sidewalk!’)” (Rodriguez 149). It can be very difficult to understand that kind of racism and even more difficult to believe it even exists because we were not there to witness it; but because our author is providing us with his personal experience we can believe that it must be accurate. The details that he supplies us with will provide the foundation of that proof and will allow us to form a trust that what he says is true. Rodriguez also provides us with a very large biographical sketch which is
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