1. To preserve memories of certain people:
a. ("Casualties," pp 101-116; "Living Dead," pp. 119-128)
2. To express feelings about specific incidents and situations:
a. Yes, Nigeria and Ghana gave Africa back to me . . .. We found a people walking with self-pride in spite of colonialism. We found here formidable cultures in spite of Christianity and Western education . . .. All my colleagues, and numerous Nigerians whom we befriended with great ease, were most generous and warm (p. 26).
b. I came to love this savannah country (Senegal) and the easy, casual dignity of the people's movements; the feminine elegance in places where formalities are traded; the tall, slender men with intensely eager faces; the music of the balafon and the kora (p. 43).
c. Encounter with Malawian Minister. See pp. 46-48
3. To clarify reasons for actions:
a. The tyranny of place . . . when I arrived in Denver, Colorado, in 1970, I bought a house, whose owner decided to leave a piano in the basement because it would cost sixty dollars to have it carried out . . . I started to hack it down with an axe . . . why should I inherit someone else's junk . . . I needed more room for my children: if they want to learn to play the piano, they can work and buy their own when the time is ripe. I resented being drawn into a piano-ornamented culture. (pp.131-12)
4. To explain why life turned out as it did
5. To trace the influences and events that shaped a career:
a. It was during this period of self-education, of teaching, trying to understand what my students wanted, that I made three discoveries . . . I became aware of the incisive qualities of the realism of Dickens, of Gorky, Chekhov, Hemingway, Faulkner. I became aware of the incisive qualities of Scottish and English ballads . . . most directly related to my point of view was the third discovery, by chance in the late Forties, of Richard Wright's short stories, Uncle Tom's Children . . . I smelled our own poverty in his Southern setting. (pp.17-18)
Last modied May 2000