The I & The Eye

What’s the difference between the “I” and the ” Eye” ?

biography – the writer’s eye corresponds to the writer’s perception of himself / his story / his personal memories (souvenirs ) of his life

> the book is like a mirror 

An Autobiography is a story told by the writer himself . In an autobiography the writer is the narrator and also the main character. 

For us to buy an autobiography it has to be a unique story / an example to follow / original and different lifestyle / unique life experience.

When individual stories meet collective HISTORY > have a universal dimension. 

For example: Churchill’s memoirs / Obama’s diary can be turned into autobiographies.

Step 1 – collect memories / records facts everyday – Step 2- organize / find a theme – Step 3 – give a universal message

To read: Alex Haley, Racines. // Kunta Kinté is the story Haley’s grand father told by his grand mother. 

EYE > witness / to experience / to feel / to remember / to record 

I > the messenger / the writer who comments / organizes / lies ?? 

Women’s voices :

  • Virginia Woolf – A Room of ones Own. > stream of consciousness
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman – The Yellow Wall Paper

Harlem Renaissance :

  • W. E. B Du BOIS
  • Langston Hughes
  •  The Help
  • Toni Morisson

Churchill wanted to set an example whereas benjamin Franklin wanted to live his life again thanks to writing.

Maya Angelou thinks that facts can obscure the truth so in her autobiography she focuses on feelings / perceptions / introspection and her inner self. (fort intérieur) Circumstances and context can be ignored to send a universal message.

Ex. I wake up everyday

at 6.30. I live in Paris , I work at LMA , and micro lycée, Savigny …> only teachers in Paris will know.

 > I’m a busy teacher. > all the teachers can understand

biased (orienté ) // unbiased (neutre)

reliable ( fiable ) # unreliable ( peu fiable )

WRITER = LIAR ” telling lies ” ” ring true ” “style” events episodes changed > fiction / correction / tale change misfortunes > fortunes

To improve reality ? / Can you be an honest liar? Are you lying when you hide the truth ? when you change names? Your memory can be unreliable 

WRITER = TELLS THE TRUTH ” impossible / be true / candid account / facts / records / archives / verified / checked / effort ”

TEXT 1 – Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl, 1861. 


Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1861.

  • Focus on Harriet’s family ties – Who ? (job / situation / age)
  • Focus on Harriet’s feelings for her grandma. What happened to her ? Anything shocking?
  • Harriet’s feelings for her mistress. Anything shocking?
  • What was Harriet’s privilege?
  • When does she address the readers? What’s her message?

Abolition in slavery in the US – A. Lincoln – 1865 Abolitionists struggled to abolish slavery. /// Slavery was followed by Segregation by law which ended in 1964 but still exists today ( school segregation because of gap between rich White communities and ghettos) 

Recommended film : 12 years a slave 

HW read about Harriet Jacobs / find vocab 

HW Revise The Eye and the Eye vocab for lesson quiz !


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