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E.L. Doctorow: Exploring the frontier of one's identity

            What is fact? A simple synonym search in Microsoft word produces these results: information, detail, truth, reality, actuality and verity. All these words are very powerful in the English language. College, supplemented by this class, has taught me to question what fact really is. Inundated everyday by media and information, it is important to distinguish what is true, and what is fabricated. If anything, it will just make you a more informed person. Even as late as high school, I use to trust what was in my history text. I thought I was memorizing for that 4.0 grade and 5 on my AP test, but little did I know that by doing so, I believed everything that my textbook said. I never questioned the other side, the untold story, or what really happened. It wasn't really until my encounters with E.L. Doctorow, did the line between fiction and history start to blur. E.L. Doctorow became famous by disintegrating the very line between historical fact and literary fiction. Through his captivating style, it provides a catalyst to make an interesting point. In his essay, False Documents he states, "Fiction is a not entirely rational means of discourse illusion of suffering an experience not his own" (Doctorow 16). By almost blending literature into the works of fiction, one comes out with a richer understanding of what really went on by taking in a personal perspective to the account. .
             According to Aristotle in his work Poetics, history is "the thing that has been", whereas the poet writes about "the thing that might be". As a result, "[fiction] is more philosophical and more significant than history" (Bloom 124). As Bloom states, this is because fiction then deals with human nature rather than one specific moment in time. Doctorow utilized fiction and literature to advocate his stance on the current political and social issues at the time. In all of Doctorow's works, historical events are the backdrop.

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