UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

I can hear you writing : reflections on voice and writing Quinn, Andrew Harry


Written in the form of a narrative, this thesis explores the phenomenon of voice in writing, and what the development of an awareness of the multiplicity voices while writing and reading can mean for language learners. This thesis is also a personal reflection of depression, and a recollection of individual, family and life events. One chapter takes the form of a unified narrative, while another presents anecdotal recollections. It is, in this sense, an exploration of voices through an analysis of available academic and public writing, and a personal inquiry into how the concept of voices in writing has affected my development as an individual and as a writer. The first section reviews some of the academic and public literature on writing and voice, and reveals that early writing on the issue of voice reflected a monolistic theory of voice. That is, that there is one voice that as writers we must find within ourselves, or there is a voice of the author that we must seek out. However, views of the multiplicity of voices in writing are increasingly common. While philosophical tradition since Plato has mistrusted writing and viewed it as secondary to speech, philosophy has nevertheless employed writing to further its own inquiries. Re/viewing the issue of voice in writing may be one way to deal with this long-standing schism between speech and writing. There is a need to further problematize the field of writing, not searching for ways to simplify the process but seeking ways to celebrate the inherent complexity, ambiguity, and paradoxical nature of writing. The thesis concludes with a reflection on the need to seriously consider the significance of voices in writing in first and second language instruction.

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