Who Am I Writing For? An Exploration Of The Influences Of The Private And Public Sphere




Davis, Mia

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In our present day, thousands of people keep a diary—personally, I can say I have kept a journal for most of my adolescent years. When looking back on my own writing, I am interested in the ways that my thoughts processes and descriptions have evolved or stayed the same with time. I began to wonder, what is the purpose and meaning behind a journal or diary? If one writes a journal for her own eyes only, then there’s likely some sort of individual self-exploration or private growth tied in with the process. Charlotte Perkins Gilman kept diaries for most of her life that she did not intend to publish when she first began to write them. However, many diaries were meant to become public from the start, and serve an entirely different purpose—for instance, May Sarton’s, Journal of a Solitude. I am particularly interested in these notions of the public and private sphere in relation to keeping a diary and how this affects the overall tone or purpose behind the authors’ writings. When one writes with the intent of publication, how does this shift in audience affect the way we understand the text’s rhetoric of disclosure? How does the language change when compared with a diary that focuses on private intent? Can these two spheres be truly separated or is there ultimately a fusion of both? These are the questions that I discuss in my thesis. In light of these studies of spheres of influence, I conclude with the reflections on my own journals and the motivations behind my entries.



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