Sylvia Ashton-Warner Carolyn F. Ruffin - Essay

Carolyn F. Ruffin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Sylvia Ashton-Warner writes "I Passed This Way" from the road, not from her destination. Her title is past tense, but this partial autobiography is the past recalled to answer present questions.

She tells time by the number of schools she attends in childhood, by the teacher's residences her family captures like an army on the move, and by the artist's retreats she builds for herself. All the while Sylvia is asking, as she will when the autobiography closes, what will I be—a teacher, an artist, a writer, a mother, a child, a wife?

In her book she is each of these at some time. For several taxing years she is all of these at once. Yet, in telling how she passed this way, she is...

(The entire section is 432 words.)