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TWO OR THREE THINGS

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by

Drew Pearson

on 22 July 2014

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Transcript of TWO OR THREE THINGS

Biography
Born in Greenville, South Carolina, 1949
Mother was 15 when she had Allsion
Poor, 'white trash', working class
Suffered physical/emotional abuse
Left home after highschool
Masters degree in Urban Anthropology in 1981
Allison was 43 when she had her son Wolf.
Lives in NorCal; still writes, speaks, teaches/leads writing workshops; active feminist
TWO OR THREE THINGS
I KNOW FOR SURE

A PRESENTATION BY Drew Pearson, Hanna Kokovai, Lisa Kane & Kylie Sesto
Storytelling
Began at young age telling stories to her sisters and to herself
Poetry/ horror stories
"Sometimes the whole point is to make yourself the heroine." -Allison
The search for truth
Writing out of anger
Stories must be felt to be understood; must be lived
Dorothy Allison Trivia
Suffers from 'survivors guilt'
Reads poetry; gravitates toward Southern lyrical tradition
First published poem was in 1960
Unable to have children
Her 'weird extended queer family'; married Alix Layman in 2008
First person in family to graduate highshcool; also college- Go Titans
Legally blind in one eye
C.R. Group Example
-1975 film, "Stepford Wives" have a C.R. meeting
Childhood
-Raised in poverty "poor white trash"
-Sexual abused by her step dad
-Grew up in segregation
The Women's Liberation Movement
-Allison "accidentally"
becomes a member of the Women's Liberation Movement, and then it changes her life.

-Allison joins a "CR," a Consciousness Raising group, and begins to draw on their methods to further her own life.

-The Liberation Movement, "Telling it like it is."
South Carolina and How It Changed
-One of the 13 original colonies of the United States

-High levels of poverty

-Civil Rights Movement
Poverty and Sexual Abuse
-Abuse in her family

-Direct connection of poverty and sexual abuse

-Violence and abuse still stands
Evolution of the Text
Oral Autobiography into Prose
Significance in Portrayal
Legacy & The Grotesque
Southern Gothic Elements in Two or Three Things
Becoming a 'Rabid Feminist'
1973 Tallahassee, Florida, sat in on a consciousness-raising group at a women's center
Editor/publisher 'Amazing Grace'
Turned her back on the roles played by her mother and aunts: find a man, save him with love, hang on for dear life
Women's love for other women is what can carry you through, but love doesn't save
Moved to New York and almost died... a few times!
Consciousness Raising Groups
-Stems from Civil Rights Movement

-Formed a backbone for the Women's Liberation Movement

-Instilled a different form of thinking for Allison, a quick introduction to the vast feminist movement

-Priorities of Consciousness Raising
Identity and Memory
Something Larger from Portrayal & Truth
Dorothy Allison
Small Group
Exercise

In the final pages of Dorothy Allison's memoir, she recalls a dream she had of encountering a crumbling brick wall. As she touched each brick, and they came crashing down around her, she saw images of all the stories she'd lived and told.
One group member from each of the small groups will choose 2 loose bricks from the wall.
On the back of your bricks you will find a quote from the book, beginning with Aunt Dot's infamous saying, "Two or three things I know for sure..." You will also find page numbers so you can reference your quotes.
As a small group, you will conduct a close reading and discuss the significance of these quotes, using other pertinent textual evidence to support your analysis. You may also choose to discuss the photograph associated with your chosen quotes, and how the two might be related.
We will come together as a class and your group will be asked to share your interpretations, feelings and opinions.
Depth in Honesty

"Within our family it was astonishingly difficult to sort out the truth from the lies. If you did not think about things, and there were so many things all of us tried not to think about, you tended to lose track of what you really thought or felt." - Allison, Skin
TWO OR THREE THINGS
I KNOW FOR SURE

A PRESENTATION BY Drew Pearson, Hanna Kokovai, Lisa Kane & Kylie Sesto
Accessibility in 'Figures'
Hands On Experience
I haven't written a biography. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure is a memoir, except truly it is a meditation on storytelling. I don't find autobiography to be that productive a category. I liked moving over into fiction. I myself am fascinated by writers' real lives. But it's also a little bit like scratching chiggers. I know that I shouldn't, and I know that there's something kind of unpleasant about it … but for God's sake, reading John Cheever's stories, then reading his children's accounts of his life—it was fascinating.
Synergy and Contradiction with major themes of gothic literature:
flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters
other sinister events relating to or coming from poverty, alienation, racism, crime, and violence.
decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations
ambivalent gender roles
Allison refutes the imaged myth of white southern commonality, insisting on the importance of claiming her family's brutal history "of death and murder, grief and denial, rage and ugliness" (32). At the same time, she shows the mechanisms by which her family internalizes the myths of southern culture-romantic narratives of white supremacy, southern womanhood, beauty, the noble poor-even while they resist them through their very lives, with fierce pride.
-Cult of True Womanhood principles
Full transcript