StudentShare solutions
Got a tricky question? Receive an answer from students like you! Try us!

Essay example - Ruth Behar and James Baldwin: Ethnographic Treatment of the Burden of the Author

Only on StudentShare
Book Reports
Pages 10 (2510 words)
Contemporary literary writing and the anthropological discipline of ethnography have spawned a new breed of writing. There is a melding of the ethnocentric writer and the literary ethnographer. The result is an approach to culture and communication that employs rather than avoids empathy, personal experience and a connection to the scenes and people studied…

Extract of sample

There exists this question regarding "ethnography" as a kind of writing, perhaps, as a form of literature. In The Vulnerable Observer, Ruth Behar defines the shifting definition of 'ethnography' in terms of responsibility, poly-vocality, empathy, power and the post-modernist view of the fragmented self. Moreover, she presents ethnography as a means towards a cathartic end for the ethnographer, perhaps as an apology for neglecting self, in the hope of finding someone else's truth, where truth can be shared by all the dwellers in the world, and seeking is the one true power which directs our relational identities, that ultimately colors the "burden of the author."
As a "bastard of the West," an "interloper," a "suspect late-comer, bearing no credentials," James Baldwin's burden pointed towards his struggles to adopt, or adapt to, parts of the culture that preceded him. (Baldwin, Notes of a Native a Son, 6-7, 164) Empathy, trust, and love were not ingredients personally practiced by Baldwin, but throughout his literary characterizations, they were pervasive. And, as a literary ethnographer observing America's political and social climate, Baldwin grappled with the same notions as Behar - the need for love, subjectivity, truth, self and the Other, and racism.
Both aut ...
Download paper
Not exactly what you need?

Related papers

James Joyce and Virginia Woolf
They can be specifically identified in such pieces as "The Dead," "The Sisters," and "Araby." For the two authors, the exploration of these themes and employment of these techniques are encased in a style of prose that impresses in its skilful use of the word as a probe to uncover the preoccupations and meditations of the human soul.…
4 pages (1004 words)
Literary Analysis (Author can choose a topic and I give the source and some papers)
DuBois equates the experience of black America with striving to create a singular consciousness out of an identity made up of dual perspectives. DuBois writes that "One ever feels his twonesstwo warring ideals in one dark body" (564). Walker's story is about this war over identity and she extends it even to the symbolism of the items that Dee wants. Dee urgently desires the butter churn and asks,…
5 pages (1255 words)
compare and contrast the treatment of love in the following Romantic poem and extract from a Romantic poem Charlotte Dacre's 'I1 Trionfo del Amor' and Byron's
This extract, because of its personal appeal, will be discussed first. As a long narrative poem, the poet has much scope for setting the scene, telling the story and introducing meaningful characters and their personalities or condition, and to work towards a climax in whatever way he chooses. It is almost as if Byron is the conductor of a comic opera, employing all nature as his stage setting,…
6 pages (1506 words)
Rudyard Kiplings Whitemans Burden
This is a view more commonly shared by the opposition to Kipling's piece. A popular argument shared by defenders of the Euro-centrism underlying within his poem argue that it is the obligation of the wealthy to take care of the poor. Many postcolonial theorists argue that the predominance of white sovereignty in foreign lands has less to do with the ideals promoted in Kipling's poem and more to do…
14 pages (3514 words)
"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin
The story starts when Sonny's elder brother gains knowledge about Sonny's arrest on the basis of heroin addiction and drug selling. He is quite worried about his brother but he acknowledges the fact that he has never given him enough care and he realizes about Sonny's troubles after his daughter, Grace's death as he says, "my suffering made his real". With his own suffering, he is able to relate…