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Analyzing "Fault Lines"

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Megan Adam

on 14 September 2012

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Transcript of Analyzing "Fault Lines"

By Meena Alexander Fault Lines: A Memoir Megan Adam "Fault Lines" is an autobiography about Meena Alexander's childhood. The title comes from her feelings about the dislocation between her past and her present. Introduction Meena Alexander was born in Allahbad, India in 1951, but she lived in many other places. Moving was a constant theme in her life and, eventually, became one of the major reasons in writing her book, "Fault Lines." She had hoped that, in writing about her childhood, she would be able to better figure out who she was from where she came from. She grew up to be a distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York Author Information Subject- The book mainly covers Meena's childhood life as she remembers it. There are multiple flash-forwards to present day, especially when the Twin Towers are hit, but for the most part she focus' on her past.

Occasion- It takes place in India and Sudan for the most part, and occurs during the 50's-60's, while Alexander is growing up.

Audience- With her poetic tone and mature topic, Meena's audience should be older and more experienced readers. This book reached out to many who, like Meena, felt lost in the world they ere living in.

Purpose- Meena Alexander's purpose in writing "Fault Lines" was not only to recapitulate her past but to also figure out who she is now, and to - in the book "within a book" - uncover a buried trauma that changed the whole foundation of her childhood. SOAPS Analysis Speaker- Meena talks in 1st person as a woman retelling her childhood.

Tone- In the first part of the book, before she remembers "the incident," her outlook on her childhood is pretty optimistic. It is not till after "the incident" that she begins to become slightly angry, but mostly confused and mournful. SOAPS cont. Themes Truth Vs. Deception- what the actual truth is and the lies we tell ourselves to protect us Loss of Innocence- when someone or something takes away a person's childhood before their time comes for them to grow up For my connection piece, i chose "Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky. He writes about a young boy and his experience as he goes into high school. One thing that happened to both Meena and Charlie (the character in Perks) is that they were both sexually abused by a loved one. They both buried the trauma and realized it much later in life. Connection Piece 1. Short Syntax. Alexander's use of short syntax creates emphasis to what she is saying. Ex: "I wanted him to die." This short sentence, in a paragraph all to its own, helps represent the anger she begins to feel towards her grandfather after what he had done to her.

2. Metaphors. She is constantly providing metaphors to poetically describe certain situations. Ex: "tore open the skin of memory," is used when she is describing her realization of her childhood trauma. This metaphor helps her audience be able to relate to her painful memory by describing it as a very physically painful event.

3. Repetition- And finally, Meena Alexander uses repetition while she is telling the story of her grandfather's violence against her. "A child in a white dress walked in the door, a while later a child walked out . . . I do not like to say I . . . she not I. Not I, not I." This repetition shows her struggle with the revelation of the situation and how hard it is for her to handle what had happened to her while she was still a child. Styles Literary Criticism "Evocative and Moving" -Publishers Weekly "Meena Alexander's acute poetic sensibility makes this memoir a joy to read. At the same time, the writing is grounded enough to evoke the earthier loam of violence and reality." -Bapsi Sidhwa, author of "Cracking India" "This is an enchanting, beautifully written memoir, and is highly recommended for academic and public libraries that wish to broaden their collections in autobiography and multicultural literature." -Library Journal She states that she has turned away from organized religion and just seeks out spirituality. Meena was born into a Syrian Christian family; her grandfather was actually a theologian. But as she grew older she learned more about Hinduism and she began to love Krishna, the god of love. She married a jew, and so has also grown to love the jewish religions too. In times of hardships she does turn to Christianity, however. Worldview http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/crossroads/interviews/page_6/ This book shows the life of a girl wrestling with what everyone has at one point wrested with too - who they are. In my opinion, the book was quite hard to understand at times and too boring to focus on. It took 230 pages till i began to become interested in what Alexander had to say. If she got rid of her whole first half, it would make the book a thousand times better. Conclusion
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