The novel, Mixing Memoirs and Desire by Geoff Hamilton present a case that tries to give a portrayals of three personalities under different settings. The personality include James Frey, Wound Culture followed by the essential American Soul. The combination of that give the novel its title, Mixing Memoir and Desire: James Frey, Wound Culture, and the Essential American Soul.
Geoff, the author tries to reflect his self, though imaginatively as a person more tough, aggressive and daring than he actually his. A reflection of all these are made as a memoir, which he discusses extensively along the novel. Most of the memoirs he talks about portrayal his desires, and wants to passionately showcase along the novel of his struggle to fulfill them. He bring forth his first character, James Frey and admit that despite writing about him, he regrets as he regrets the decision. His preferred decision would have been writing exactly about himself, but instead ends up writing about the imaginary person, whom he desires to be. And from this character, the author develops a series of James Freys memoirs that makes up the novel.
Geoff Hamiltons main objective is to tell a story about transformation, recovery and self-reliance to a wider American public. Through a series of memoirs, especially those not so appealing Hamilton tries to present a case that despite ones position or tribulations, he or she has an opportunity to rediscover, reinvent and transform to whoever he or she wants.
That case is presented and build across the novel by use of several strategies so as to develop maximum interest to the readers. Geoff knows the stories he is telling must be presented exclusively, exploiting several strategies to deliver the message fully. In the next context we critically explore some of the widely used strategies.
Geoffs first strategy is the use of the author surrogate, where he portrays his memoirs, may be as a strategy to differentiate his person from the novel author, comes out with the person of James Frey. What he goes on to give are memoirs of James Frey, in his novel A Million Little Pieces. He doesnt stop there, along the context he heavily introduces quotations from other authors, a move that strengthens his own context and bringing out the message more clearly. For examples, while crediting James Freys contemporary permutation as the reason for his long lived authenticity that would later be debunked, Geoff quotes D.H. Lawrence, who describes who is described as hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.
Geoff doesnt stop there. He uses different appeals to ensure the message is efficiently understood and delivered to his readers. One of the appeal he uses is the pathetic appeal, where he appeals to the emotions of his readers. May be he does this so as to make them see the essence of his story, and within them rejuvenate the spirit of self-reliance and transformation. Freys appeals to the readers emotions and feelings through a well-crafted presentation of a story a young man who goes through a rehabilitation center. The young man comes, overcomes a series of challenges and successfully overcoming each until to heal, grow stronger and flourish in a way that exhibits pain and struggle as part of life that people can overcome.
Geoff uses realism in exploring a million little pieces, scrutinizing the realy lives of different characters to build a stronger case that not only him, but even many of his readers will be able to connect with their daily life. Freys struggles and later success is what many of Americas population see or experience in their lives, and reading how one can go through to later come back flourishing is encouraging and gives a sense of reality to everyone.
He exploits the virtue of honesty in telling his story about personal redemption and gives a visual legitimacy of a young, abrasive and uncontrollable young man, who despite the many challenges lives on and grows to tell a story. Clearly, the entire story is about a self-made man who would not allow anything to him down.
Along the way, Geoff reveals how despite numerous claims that Freys story were true, journalists would later reveal, although not clearly substantiated that Freys story was untrue. This brings out the author as unreliable.
Those are some of the strategies Geoff employs to narrate his tales. Did they succeed in delivering the message? Yes, the memoirs and desire tales remains some of the most read. First, he uses an author surrogate. The person he uses, gives him an opportunity to give a story, to narrate the story piece by piece connecting each to come up with a long, well-crafted story. The story creates a lot of suspense as the reader after each tale, looks forward to knowing what should come next. For example, readers after reading Freys tribulations early in life develops an interest to know what would happen in the later stages of life. The author also uses the works of other authors that gives him more space to explain his own work. The benefit of using this strategy is that you give yourself an opportunity to explore a complex personality that enables you to deliver a wide coverage of the novels objectives. Without it, one could limit to giving personal tales, and in the event where the readers know the exact author, then it fails to convince them of what is being said.
The use of pathos, where the author successfully exploits the readers feelings also plays a critical role in delivering the objectives of the novel successfully. Readers wouldnt develop the interest to know what happens next, without poking at their feelings, making them more interested to know more. It also gives the readers a clear mandate to reflect the whole stories in relation that of their lives, or lives of those around them. This is one of Geoffs objectives, to tell a story of self-discovery or redemption that can be used as a reference point to realities.
The brilliant exploitation of these strategies and many others, makes the novel by Geoff Hamilton achieve its initial goals, telling a story of self-discovery that is not only entertaining but of several lessons and personal reflections.
However, use of more strategies such as satire would improve the novel. The novel tells of a tale, that keeps the reader concerned and as such passing something in between to relief the readers reflective emotions without losing the grip on the original message can be an efficient strategy. So will be the use of many other strategies.
The novel, is worth reading either for the message or just to learn of the many strategies used to deliver the message. And Id ask a further reading of other novels for comparison.
Hamilton, Geoff. "Mixing memoir and desire: James Frey, wound culture, and the essential American soul." The Journal of American Culture 30.3 (2007): 324-333.
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