Navigating Genres Reflection

After reading “Navigating Genres” by Kerry Dirk, I found new understanding for a topic that I had thought to be very shallow. I figured genre was simply a way to categorize what a work was generally about. While I was basically correct, I failed to understand how much more genre did for both the reader and the writer. I hadn’t thought about how genre is applied first by the reader to identify how they will approach the work. To demonstrate this, Dirk gave the example of the ransom letter.

The author gave three examples of possible ransom letters that would all portray the central idea, but did it completely differently. Dirk did this to allow the reader to question how they perceive genre and determine which letter would best fit their assumptions. The answer to Dirk’s prompt was obvious but it forced the reader to consider their own perception of how a style of writing would best fit a genre.

Dirk also applied the idea of genre beyond writing. The author used examples to portray the scenarios where genre is applicable to social interaction. I found that the two examples of the Facebook post and the way to properly address a professor were particularly effective. Posting about a friend’s wart on Facebook would be completely out of genre because a comment like that would be inappropriate for a medium like Facebook. The same idea would apply to addressing your professor with “hey buddy”, because this address would only be appropriate in an informal interaction. The idea of genre allows us to create a standard for what to expect in an interaction across a variety of media.

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