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The Conscience of the Autobiographer: Ethical and Religious by J. Barbour

By J. Barbour

This publication argues that the writing of autobiography increases the most important problems with sense of right and wrong as an writer attempts to understand, determine, and symbolize personality. person chapters discover such matters because the nature of truthfulness, characterization, the virtues, disgrace, and the non secular dimensions of sense of right and wrong.

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Is his professed contrition for past sins genuine, or is the autobiographer deceiving the reader, and perhaps hirnself, by simply conforming to an established model? The self-reflective autobiographer may express doubts about the capacity of conventions to express fully the meaning of his life. Conscience is at work here, monitoring the distance between public performance and private disposition. Thus an autobiographer may reveal an uneasy conscience when he complies only partially with the conventions of a genre.

Character is revealed in the unique tone of voice of the autobiographer: bitter, wry, sclf-dcprecating, evasive, loftily dignified, or defensive. Systematic beliefs and convictions given extensive development in autobiography are most significant because of their role in forming character. Desires, dreams, fantasies, influential books, and conscious and unconscious identifications with real or fictitious persons are included not simply because they happened at a certain time, but to interpret character.

It may have been Uncle Myers after all. '36 Here, then, McCarthy conscientiously compares her memories of the past to external sources (which are not fully reliable), and reflects on the indispensability of imaginative fiction in reconstructing and recreating her past. Fictional elements do not discredit the truth of the narrative, but they must be approved by her conscience. In McCarthy's account of the autobiographical act, conscience and imagination can either conflict or co-operate. The plot and the theme of Memories of a Catholic Girlhood center on McCarthy's struggles - in both her early life and in the writing of that book - to reconcile conscience and imagination by finding a form of acting or writing that expresses both demands.

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