Danticat wrote her essay, "Turning the Page On Disaster," for a popular magazine whose audience is composed largely of women. How does she tailor her style for this primary audience? What elements...

Danticat wrote her essay, "Turning the Page On Disaster," for a popular magazine whose audience is composed largely of women. How does she tailor her style for this primary audience? What elements of the essay might appeal to a broader, more diverse audience? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one way in which Danticat is able to tailor her style for this audience is through the use of first person narrative.  The setting of Good Housekeeping is one where Danticat is able to use the first person exploration to widen the scope of her audience.  Because she writes for a popular magazine whose clientele is women with a focus on women's services, Danticat is able to employ the compassionate first person approach to focus on how the earthquake impacted people's lives and how rebuilding is an essential part of that narrative.  In using the first person narrative, Danticat creates a path of understanding for readers who might not ordinarily be associated with the Haitian predicament.  The first person narrative approach invites readers in, sharing stories and narratives.  In doing so, Danticat is able to personalize a social and national condition that can easily be lost amidst figures and facts of destruction.  In this regard, the first person style is tailored for this audience. It is inclusive of voice and understanding.

Different thoughts might present themselves in terms of designing the writing to appeal to a larger audience.  If Danticat wanted to reach a wider audience, she might have decided to include more detail about facts and empirical data surrounding the disaster and the rebuild.  However, I tend to think that this was not her intent in the piece. She sought to develop a piece where greater awareness on both personal and social levels was evident.  It is in this regard where the use of first person and its inclusion in a popular magazine served as the essay's primary motivation.

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