Picture This: Representation, Photographs, and the Contemporary American Memoir
TitlePicture This: Representation, Photographs, and the Contemporary American Memoir
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AbstractThis thesis explores significant issues of representation pertinent to the contemporary American memoir such as "truthfulness," memory, and trauma. It also examines the ways in which individual memoirists encounter and address these issues, especially in regards to the memoirists' incorporation of photographs into their narratives . The central works discussed in this thesis include the following memoirs: Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (2012) written by Jenny Lawson, Half in Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate (2012) written by Judith Kitchen, and Dorothy Allison's 1996 memoir Two or Three Things I Know For Sure. Chapter one of this thesis focuses on issues of representing one's story "truthfully" and Lawson's use of photographs as "proof' of her hard-to-believe stories in Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir ) . The next chapter centers on the representation of memory and postmemory, as well as Kitchen's use of photographs in her attempt to revive the past in Half in Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate. The final chapter is concerned with troubles of representing trauma and Allison's use of photographs in Two or Three things I Know For Sure to potentially help her say what she struggles to say with words alone. Throughout this thesis, the ways in which the photographs function as well as to what extent they aid and/or complicate representation is explored in addition to the question of why they are being included in memoir more and more frequently .