chapter  7
31 Pages

Anne: “A Small Clean Warm Plastic”

The extract from Anne’s writing gives a glimpse into her childhood experiences of poverty and their impact on her. Anne was a fi rst-year English major student from a poor Bai family in the countryside of southwest China. Prior to the study, the primary reason that she would write in English was “just for examinations.” Hoping to improve her “poor English” (letter to me on December 19, 2008), she accepted my invitation to join the autobiographically oriented extracurricular writing group. As a member, she wrote, rewrote, and shared her stories, especially of poverty and family, with other group members. In this process, Anne re-authored her relationship with her mother by reinventing as creative art her painful childhood poverty experiences in which her mother had played a focal role; in the process, she became able to come to terms with/accept both her mother and her childhood self. Through autobiographical writing, she also became a more confi dent and expressive writer in English. Anne’s autobiographical writing as a whole thus demonstrates her dynamic selfothering processes.