To help define epistolary writing, I’d like to provide an example below.
Tomorrow I head out with the Eskimos to explore the arctic. This will be my last letter until I return to civilization, as I won’t be carrying any technological devices for communication. In two weeks we can continue with our modern style of communication through email and blogs. For now, however, I hope I can express how much I’m going to miss our Tuesday evening tea and Yahtzee. And the warm sun that we took runs under on Saturdays. Play a hand for me, and run a couple of extra miles for me. When you go to the store, buy a box of the Eskimo Pies and think of me with each bite. I’ll be thinking of you.
So, when I think of epistolary writing, I think of people communicating through personal and perhaps intimate conversations: letter, blogs, email, etc…As in the Adam and Abigail letters, epistolary style is on a personal level. It may involve two people, or it may involve a group of people.
Using epistolary writing in fiction or nonfiction gives the author the opportunity to distinguish her or his voice that’s attractive enough in reaching the reader. The difference in fiction is that the epistolary style can give each character a unique voice, making them more colorful. It can also help develop the character’s feelings and emotions for the reader. As a result the character’s personality is revealed, along with her or his flaws and challenges.
Stephen King’s Carrie, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, are some examples of novels where the author uses the epistolary style of writing.
When I think of history, I think of events and people that have left some mark in a historical timeline that has some how shaped the society I live in today. Reading materials before my time, I understand that my interpretation will not be exactly the same as others. This brings me to my other thought on history. It’s a fact the Native Americans lost the land they once owned and for the most part, don’t live as they did before the “white man” rushed their land in search for gold. However, the perspective of how it was handled is just that, perspective. Some, including me, believe the Native Americans were right to fight for their land, and that they were defending their home and people. Sitting Bull’s story is told through a Lakota Indian, a relative of Sitting Bull. He explained how mistreated the Native Americans were because of the “white man’s” greed for gold. On the other hand, there are people and books or letters written during that time that praise the white army and general Custard for invading the Lakota territory and attacking them. So history is shaped by cultural perspective.
I don’t think there’s any particular strategy one can use to evaluate history. There is the beliefs they currently hold. Furthermore, it’s based on how they are influenced by the society they live in, the religious group they might belong to, and the political views they hold amongst other thing. The factual data of materials and events separate from one’s culture and time opens the door for a variety of perceptions. This would include the historical journey of epistolary writing, as it has gone from sending letters( which is still popular, I’m sure somewhere) to using the style electronically. One way or the other, the personal and intimate purpose are both still there.
A link to some novels that use epistolary style: