The following is an essay for my English 1 course.
How could I adopt Solomon Northup's remarkable technique of using contrasts? I'm going to be perfectly honest with you...I'm not quite sure. My first instinct says that this skill can be honed over years of experience. However, Northup didn't have years of experience. My next thought would be, 'It must just be a talent of his.' Well, that may or may not be true. I suspect that there are in fact a few things I can do to develop the skill of using contrasts.
First, I've got to be able to recognize and pick out contrasts in my life. One example would be the rowdiness, distractions, and time-wasting of public school versus the quiet, focused, 'time-well-spent' environment of homeschool. Once I've found contrasts like this, I need to identify whether or not that specific contrast is useful in my autobiography. If I can pick out the more stark, sharp, clear contrasts, then I should probably use those, instead of 'blurry' contrasts. Second, I need to place these contrasts in meaningful spots in my autobiography. Using a contrast about school in the middle of a chapter on photography wouldn't make much sense. However, if I were describing my transition from public school to homeschool, this contrast would be logical, and helpful.
Contrasts are a great literary device to convey a point to a reader. By picking out the stark contrasts, and putting them in logical portions of my autobiography, I will have a better chance of making my autobiography an easy to read one.
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Thanks for reading.