chapter  5
Matt: “The Smile Became Special”
Pages 34

Matt was the only ethnic Bai male member in the writing group and one of the two older case study participants. Matt came from a family of mixed ethnicity, his father a Bai and his mother a Han. Matt had learned to speak Bai from his father (1 I). Matt described his level of Bai as “Perhaps like the degree I speak English! When Bai people speak Bai, I can understand 70 percent of what they say” (email on May 21, 2010). His EFL autobiographical writing samples mainly dealt with his past experiences. The dialogicality of these texts illustrates how Matt was forming his ideological self by interacting with others’ words. His English-writing-mediated identities included him as a child, a son, and a young man trying to understand love and also trying to gain confi dence. Through his autobiographical writing samples, he performed these identities to the group, as well as refl ected on and re-visioned some of them. At the end of the writing group, his writer identity seems to have made three movements: he had become a more confi dent, involved, and life-oriented writer in English. These movements are discussed in light of the multiple contexts in which Matt wrote autobiographically in English.