I was originally very skeptical of the idea of genre analysis. Could this wariness be attributed to my weariness with analysis that I have expressed throughout these confessions? Possibly. Whatever the reason, I came into this class with the view that genre and all of its conventions were limiting factors rather than enabling ones. In my mind, genre was rigid and unforgiving. Genre-benders wouldn’t have to take such a risk if there was no genre in the first place, right? To me, genre was dogmatic, and frankly, frustrating.
However, this class, as it did time and time again, nuanced that opinion a little bit. Okay, more than a little bit. My relationship with genre changed a decent amount.
I am now under the impression that, by knowing the conventions of genre well, you can play with them more freely. Instead of informing you of the things you can’t do in a genre, it gives you the security to move around freely – and still feel comfortable and reigned in. Genre conventions aren’t necessarily excluding, but ground-laying. By understanding a genre in which you will write, you can feel confident in how to communicate effectively. And when you have this confidence, you can put more of yourself in there.
I felt this confidence when proposing my three experiments. For Experiment #1, I proposed a personal narrative. By analyzing that genre, I felt confident that I could express my ideas clearly and effectively. For Experiment #2, I analyzed the Op Ed. Through my knowledge of the Op Ed, I could focus more on my content rather than agonizing over whether or not it fit. Genre takes the pressure off in that way – it demands the basics for communication.
No where did I appreciate genre more than in Experiment #3 or my Fully Realized Interview with Majid Majidi. With knowing how an interview is structured and set up, I felt well informed enough to satirize it and use it for a new purpose. THAT is where knowing a genre can be helpful. If you know it, you can use it for your own purpose, even trying something new with the confidence that the groundwork has already been set.