Bialostosky’s essay offers his opinion on the presence of voice in writing. He points out that voice is not about how well a writer relates to his or her own language. Rather, he says that voice refers to the relationship between a writer’s words and the reader’s psychology. The author regards voice as a tool that a writer uses in order to develop a relation with the readers. An important point that the writer makes is that a speaker does not have a voice before he or she begins writing the speech. When one starts writing, other voices get involved. The speaker thus develops a voice to respond to these other voices. Thus, the voice is developed along the discourse of a particular writer. From a personal understanding of Bialostosky’s views, this paper will examine how Bialostosky’s voice relates to other voices in his narrative. In addition, this essay will compare Bialostosky’s and Spigelman’s views on personal narrative.
The essay by Bialostosky lists different voices that confront the writer during the process of writing. The other voices that the writer refers to are the voices of those who have written before. The other voices state opinions that have been fronted before. It is therefore the responsibility of a writer to address these other voices. From a personal understanding, Bialostoky encounters other voices in this narrative. These voices are from writers who have previously written on a similar topic as the one that Bialostosky addresses. Bialostosky states that a writer has to affirm, redefine, appreciate, develop, or differ from these voices. Bialostosky affirms the voices of other essayists such as Elain P. Maimon by agreeing with her arguments on voice. By quoting Maimon’s text, he supports his own argument thus rendering his voice authentic. He also mentions Bakhtin’s essay, which acts as reference point for many of his arguments concerning the use of voice in writing. In his own words, Bialostosky says that an authentic voice is one that addresses other voices.
Spigelman adapts a more liberal view of the personal narrative. She insists that every piece of writing should have a personal touch. She goes on to suggest that even academic writing should allow the use of the personal narrative. Spigelman says that a writer should infuse personal experience in their writing. This is contrary to Bialostosky’s view that writing should be about relating to other voices. According to Spigelman, writing should have a personal perspective. This will enable the writer to explore the subject in an authoritative way. Spigelman prompts that this individual style of writing should be adapted even in academic writing.
In her essay, Spigelman claims that personal writing can be blended with academic writing to create a hybrid form of writing. She believes that scholars should not dismiss the personal narrative as shallow. On the contrary, she assures the readers that personal writing can front as good an argument as any other form of academic writing. She further supports the use of the ‘I’ in narration saying that it gives credibility to the text. In her opinion, making the ‘I’ central to written discourse does not amount to selfishness. Rather, the personal narrative is a tactic that writers should exploit. Writers who manage to do this are able to successfully bring a personal touch to their academic writings. The writer insists that writers should listen to themselves first. The inner dialogue that exists in their mind should then determine the voice that they adapt in their writing.
The difference between the ideas fronted by the two writers is in the point of focus. One writer, Bialostosky, requires that other voices be central to one’s writing. He advocates that a writer should not write in a vacuum. Neither should a writer ignore the voice from other writers. However, he does not limit the writer to listening to other voices. He gives room to the writer to develop their own voice in relation to other voices. Bialostosky uses this approach in his narrative as he gives due credence to other voices in his writing. He listens to these voices, and then responds appropriately. This, he says, ensures a relation between readers and the writer. Unlike Bialostosky’s use of voice, Spigelman’s personal narrative makes the writer and not the subject the focus of the writing.
Bialostosky puts forward a solid argument on the use of voice in writing. He encourages writers to break free from the boundaries that exist in their minds. This, he advises, is possible if writers learn to respond to other voices in their writings. He is insistent of the fact that a writer is a carrier of not his own voice, but the voice of the readers. Spigelman also contributes to the subject of personal narration by encouraging writers to add a personal touch to their writings. Her proposition is that writing should include expression of personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences. These two approaches, however different they are, aim at improving the writing skills of budding writers. The two authors have designed two different schemes that writers can follow to achieve success.