The Writing of Narrative and Identity in Blogs and Clarissa. Kendra Sheehan.

From what I have observed in the blog I analyzed, articles about blogs, and Clarissa, writing is an act that allows one to form an identity. In blogs and letters, the writer has a distinct voice and distinct experiences unique to them. In the case of Clarissa and the blog I observed, writing can also be a cathartic act that allows one to express emotions and experiences.

Letters and blogs can help writers express their emotions when they have no one else to listen to their problems or thoughts. A blog can at times be nothing more than a diary, allowing bloggers to confess emotions or thoughts without judgment. Blogs also allow the blogger to write about subjects that can be directed at no one in particular, with the option to let readers comment or engage with the blogger. Similarly, Clarissa essentially writes herself into sanity after her rape in the sixth volume. She does not send the letters, and it is possible that they were not meant to be sent despite the fact several of them are addressed to others. In these “mad letters,” Clarissa breaks with writing traditions, scratches through lines, crumples the papers up, and even references Shakespeare. Writing allows Clarissa to organize her thoughts and feelings.

Like bloggers, Clarissa constructs identity through post content, voice (or writing style), and affiliation (Dennen, 2009, pp. 29-30). For example, Clarissa shares with Anna the poem, “Ode to Wisdom” that she has set to music. Similarly, bloggers are able to share links or images when they are feeling emotions that they cannot describe in their own words. In a particularly poignant moment, Clarissa references Shakespeare in “Paper X” of Volume VI. Here, (mis)quoting a scene from Hamlet, Clarissa goes from an emotionally devastated Ophelia to a staunch and determined Hamlet. Similarly, blogs allow the writers to relate their feelings to those of others by posting links and images. These links or intertextual connections add an extra dimension to the formation of narrative through writing letters and blogs.