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unlinked drafts - Beckwith 1 Noor Beckwith Preceptor...

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Beckwith 1 Noor Beckwith Preceptor: Zachary Sifuentes Expository Writing 20: A Voice of One’s Own March 2008 Unit 2 Rough Draft(s): The Temporal Transience of the Pure Moment [using Scarry] ( Possible Linking Thesis: The fundamental value-laden unit of memory that distinguishes a superlative or transcendent experience is a corpuscle of purity, a minute singularity of uncorrupted time and space. It has two distinct and requirements; it must be transient and it must be focused on one functionally indivisible object.) The unit of memory that defines pinnacles of memory is necessarily a rapidly passing moment in time. It is a nearly instantaneous impression that is uncorrupted and it imprints itself in the mind due to its novelty and purity. Perhaps thereafter it becomes corrupted, minimized, forgotten or lost, but all that is necessary for that pinnacle of distinction is a moment of purity. In the chapter “On Beauty and Being Wrong” from her book On Beauty and Being Just , Elaine Scarry describes the process of realizing a mistake in beauty, and it at first may sound similar to this one. It requires a sudden realization and a strong, novel, sensory experience, but there are nuances to each process – hers and mine – that clearly distinguish them. And the concept of the pure unit is both simpler, and also implicitly contained and understood in Scarry’s process of addressing beauty. Her own personal example of the process of error lends itself to deconstruction, as it will make clear the distinctions: My palm tree is an example. Suddenly, I am on a balcony and its huge swaying leaves are before me at eye level, arcing, arching, waving, cresting and breaking in the soft air, throwing the yellow sunlight up over itself and catching it on the other side, running its fingers down its own piano keys, then running them back up again, shuffling and dealing glittering decks of aqua, green, yellow, and white. It is everything I have always loved, fernlike, featherlike, fanlike, open – lustrously in love with air and light. (Scarry 16)
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Beckwith 2 Both Scarry’s process of beauty, and the important unit of strong memories being described and posited herein rely on a moment, a blink of extra-ordinary time. Scarry signals that this moment is here with the word “Suddenly”, throwing the action of here narrative into a simultaneously compressed and expanded interval of time. The interval is compressed because suddenness indicates a rapid onset of events; it is expanded because the exposition and appreciation of those events requires that interval to be drawn out. In this drawing out of the moment, Scarry commits a peculiarity of rhythm. She begins to lyrically list aspects of her memory with a definite pulse, using many commas and the progression, “arcing, arching, waving, cresting and breaking”. The metronomic rhythm of quickly pressing through memories or the aspects of a memory is indicative of a search. It is like flipping through a slideshow to find a key slide. What is it then
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course EXPOS 20 taught by Professor Sifuentes during the Spring '08 term at Harvard.

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unlinked drafts - Beckwith 1 Noor Beckwith Preceptor...

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