Throughout many of the different novels that we have examined in class we are able to see writers using the autobiographical format to display certain emotions they themselves have experienced in life. In order to make it relateable to the reader it is sometimes necessary for the author to associate certain autobiographical sections with political, historical, or religious ideas. Another technique is to disguise personal concerns or beliefs within the autobiographical format. Both Theresa Kyung Cha in Dictee and Maxine Hong Kingston in The Woman Warrior are very skillful in their utilization of the autobiographical format to convey ideas of history, politics, religion, and their own beliefs.
In Theresa Kyung Cha’s Dictee she uses not only the autobiographical format, but many different non-conventional types of literary techniques. All of these mixed together foster new ideas in the mind of the reader and open the eyes of writers to explore a new kind of creativity. One of the interesting themes in Dictee coupled with the autobiographical form is the constant mention and both obvious and underlying theme of Catholicism. Though the brief mentions of Catholicism occur sporadically throughout the novel, one passage that emphasizes such themes is directly at the beginning. From pages eleven to nineteen Theresa Kyung Cha goes into detail about various practices of the Catholic faith. As she is explaining through garbled versions of prayer and multiple, short phrases that together create an overwhelming and almost exact visual interpretation of certain Catholic rituals, we begin to see that her take on religion in her child was something that bothered her. Catholicism to the author seems to be a chore and not a preferred form in which to worship. The passage starts out with her choppy interpretation of the trivial practices involved in the acceptance of communion. She goes on with her “list” to demonstrate that possibly she feels writing is a sin.
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