Lucky a Memoir by Alice Sebold Term Paper

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Memoir Book Review: Lucky

She was lucky. She could have been killed. Over and over, the young, scared freshman named Alice Sebold is told this horrifying fact. Sebold was raped on the Syracuse campus, walking home during her first semester. The student was lucky -- after all, it could have been worse, had things evolved differently, if the rapist had been bent on murder, and if Sebold had not been so clever in her dealings with him.

Also, if Sebold were not so clever the memoir that came to encapsulate Alice Sebold's early, formative experiences as a young woman and a writer could have been different and worse, that is far less powerful in its emotive force upon the reader's heart -- Sebold was a young, white virgin college coed, the rapist was from the small and mixed upstate New York, working class town of Syracuse. He was also a young African-American man with a prior police record.

As an author, Alice Sebold could easily have shaped her narrative according to a destructive cultural myth, as cautioned by Judith Barrington in that author's text on Writing the Memoir in Chapter 11. The use of the genre of the memoir to relate this incident, rather than of essay or autobiography is especially useful, because by focusing only on her own experiences, the author manages to be moving without having to address potentially distracting racial issues, other than how they relate to her own experience as a human being -- in writing a memoir, Sebold can be unabashedly subjective without passing judgment upon men and women, or blacks and whites.

Thus Sebold not only won the trial and saw her rapist convicted, she also won the struggle to make sense of her experience in useful prose. In fact, the climatic moment of the memoir takes place in a writing class. Sebold has just seen her rapist wandering around the town of Syracuse. She knows him immediately, by his walk from behind as well as by sight. But she is due to appear in Tobias Wolf's writing class. Wolf, one of the great modern American masters of the memoir, author of This Boy's Life, which was later to become a film with Leonardo de Caprio… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Lucky a Memoir by Alice Sebold.  (2004, November 20).  Retrieved December 13, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Lucky a Memoir by Alice Sebold."  20 November 2004.  Web.  13 December 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Lucky a Memoir by Alice Sebold."  November 20, 2004.  Accessed December 13, 2019.