National Writing Project

The Red and the Black

By: Laurie Bottoms
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 1
Date: Winter 1997

Summary: The writer expresses her enthusiasm for yearbook writing—messages that reflect many types and kinds of writing—as a genre directed at a real audience.



On the other hand, notice that writing — handwriting — covers many pages, even filling several, even spilling onto the pages of advertising at the end of the book, and notice that these handwritten messages reflect many types and kinds. In fact, Moffett's Universe of Discourse may be better exemplified here than in any other school publication. True, there are signatures, standing alone as more names without text, but there are also notes — along with warnings, reminders, apologies, protestations of love and friendship, recapitulations and recastings, fulsome promises, exaggerated praises, essays crafted of "insider" codes known only to reader and writer.

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