• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"A Sort of Preface" is a short piece of prose written by Toni Cade Bambara, extracted from "Gorilla, My love", which was published in 1984.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Prose Commentary "A Sort of Preface" is a short piece of prose written by Toni Cade Bambara, extracted from "Gorilla, My love", which was published in 1984. It can be classified as narrative prose and is written in the first person. It consists of 3 paragraphs of varying length. The subject of this piece can be interpreted as to be one side of an argument on why not to write autobiographical fiction. The piece is set in Brooklyn, New York in the 1940s. According to the name of the author, the easy laid-back tone of the text, background information it can be assumed that the narrator is a black female. From the way she speaks about her mother, it can also be assumed that she is either a teenager or a young woman. She starts off stating that it "does no good to write autobiographical fiction" and continues to elaborate on the consequences of doing so concerning trouble with her mother throughout the first paragraph. ...read more.

Middle

The values that she has are strongly emphasized, especially friends and family. She states that after mentioning a character in an autobiographical work, her friend assuming that she is talking about her, and not being too pleased about it, the least she could do is "spin off half the royalties her way". Towards her mother she does not show as much reason as towards her friend. She treats and reports her mothers expected actions more cynical than serious and reasonable. However, the last paragraph contains clear evidence that she does value her family. The atmosphere present in "A Sort of Preface" is created by the casual, crude, informal, but humorous tone. This tone and the absence of nearly any punctuation gives the reader the impression that the narrator is basically just talking ahead without much thought. Her attempts to make a point on why not to write autobiographical fiction result in short stories of what she has already experienced in similar situations, or what she expects would happen. ...read more.

Conclusion

Personally, I believe that this preface deliberately contradicts itself. It becomes visible in the first paragraph, which starts off with the narrator saying that it is no good to write autobiographical fiction. Following this statement, the reader learns more and more about the narrator's life. In the first paragraph we gain knowledge of her family, and in the second paragraph we learn of her friends. Essentially, that describes autobiographical fiction. The reader is not left confronted with a mystery on why she contradicts herself in this matter. The final clue is in the last paragraph: "I lie a lot anyway". This is mentioned in a different context, but the statement is a general one. The book that may follow from this preface may therefore be an autobiographical novel, it may be just an introduction to a "straight-up" novel, simply introducing herself, or it may be part of both. Since this preface has autobiographical information, she could be possible have "intended" it to be non-autobiographical, but could not stay completely consistent with not writing anything autobiographical. This could also justify why the title is "a sort of a preface", and not just "a preface". ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work