Tag Archives: Gelassenheit

Towards ‘New Memoir’: Ira Wagler’s Ex-Amish Life Narrative Growing Up Amish

Memoir writing has become a space of empowerment for those whose voices have been silenced, misrepresented, or not yet understood by the mainstream. Ira Wagler’s New York Times bestseller, Growing Up Amish (2011), can be viewed as a further extension of the body of literature that focuses on oppression, agency, and survival. In this essay I will survey universal literary themes in Wagler’s ex-Amish memoir—such as the father-son and identity conflicts—and situate them in Old Order Amish cultural contexts. I will further explore relevant genre conventions—including Patrick Madden’s theory of ‘new memoir’ from 2014—as well as the narrating I’s voice that reflect the Old Order Amish concept of Gelassenheit and the virtue of humility.

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