Shooting Dad Sarah Vowell Essay Summary Samples

Beattie Southerland October 21, 2009 Block 2 Shooting Dad, Arm Wrestling Analysis In their recent work, Brad Manning and Sarah Vowell have written about more than one way to have a close, but different relationship with a father. I have always believed that to get along with someone you would have normal conversations, enjoy each other’s company, or share a common interest. They love their father as any other child would, but their ways of communication are not the same and are different from a common father-child relationship. Both authors use rhetorical devices as a framework for differentiating their relationships with their fathers by characterizing them. In both stories “ Arm Wresting with My Father ,” and “ Shooting Dad ,” use different rhetorical strategies that allow them to exemplify their actual feelings of how they relate to their father’s. They also use similar rhetorical devices that are used differently. “Ours had always been a physical relationship, I suppose, one determined by athleticism and strength.” Manning emphasizes how his relationship with his father is very physical. Whereas when Vowell states, “If you were passing by the house where I grew up during my teenage years and it happened to be before Election Day, you wouldn’t have needed to come inside to see that it was a house divided,” She comes to the conclusion that she has a relationship that is based on a common interest of politics, where they are both polar opposites. Both authors use imagery but in a different manner. When Manning uses imagery

Sarah Vowell

Vowell in 2007

BornSarah Jane Vowell
December 27, 1969 (1969-12-27) (age 48)
Muskogee, Oklahoma, U.S.

Montana State University, B.A.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, M.A.
OccupationHistorian, author, journalist, essayist, social commentator, actress
Years active1987–present

Sarah Jane Vowell (born December 27, 1969) is an American historian, author, journalist, essayist, social commentator and actress. Often referred to as a "social observer," Vowell has written seven nonfiction books on American history and culture. She was a contributing editor for the radio program This American Life on Public Radio International from 1996 to 2008, where she produced numerous commentaries and documentaries and toured the country in many of the program's live shows. She was also the voice of Violet in the animated film The Incredibles and has reprised her role in its sequel.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Vowell was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and moved to Bozeman, Montana, with her family when she was eleven.[2] She has a fraternal twin sister, Amy. Vowell earned a B.A. from Montana State University in 1993 in Modern Languages and Literatures[3] and an M.A. in Art History[4] at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996. She has also received the Music Journalism Award in 1996.


Published works[edit]

Vowell is a New York Times bestselling author[5] of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture. Her most recent book is Lafayette in the Somewhat United States (2015), an account of the young French aristocrat who became George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, and afterward an American celebrity––the Marquis de Lafayette.

In a review for the New York Times, Charles P. Pierce wrote, "Vowell wanders through the history of the American Revolution and its immediate aftermath, using Lafayette’s involvement in the war as a map, and bringing us all along in her perambulations… and doing it with a wink."[6] NPR reviewer Colin Dwyer wrote, "It's awfully refreshing to see Vowell bring our founders down from their lofty pedestals. In her telling, they're just men again, not the gods we've long since made of them."[7]

She also wrote Unfamiliar Fishes (2011), which discusses the Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Newlands Resolution. In The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani called it a "relentlessly casual," "willfully cutesy-pie book" that is "less history than performance art" that is "annoying in the extreme, calculated to amuse or titillate, while skimping on depth and context."[8] “Unfamiliar Fishes” is a big gulp of a book, printed as an extended essay," wrote Allegra Goodman in The Washington Post. "Lacking section or chapter breaks, Vowell’s quirky history lurches from one anecdote to the next. These are often entertaining, but in the aggregate they begin to sound the same, veering toward stand-up and a shaggy dog story—more David Sedaris than David McCullough." Although Goodman also wrote that "Vowell tells a good tale" with "shrewd observations," she found that "the narrative wears thin where casual turns cute and cute threatens to turn glib."[9]

Vowell's earlier book, The Wordy Shipmates (2008), analyzes the settlement of the New England Puritans in America and their contributions to American history.

Her book Assassination Vacation (2005) describes a road trip to tourist sites devoted to the murders of presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley.

She is also the author of two essay collections, The Partly Cloudy Patriot (2002) and Take the Cannoli (2000). Her first book Radio On: A Listener's Diary (1997), is her year-long diary of listening to the radio in 1995.

Her writing has been published in The Village Voice, Esquire, GQ, Spin, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the SF Weekly, and she has been a regular contributor to the online magazine Salon.[10] She was one of the original contributors to McSweeney's, also participating in many of the quarterly's readings and shows.

In 2005, Vowell served as a guest columnist for The New York Times during several weeks in July, briefly filling in for Maureen Dowd. Vowell also served as a guest columnist in February 2006, and again in April 2006.[11]

In 2008, Vowell contributed an essay about Montana to the book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America.

Public appearances and lectures[edit]

Vowell has appeared on television shows such as Nightline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,[12]The Colbert Report, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[13]

In April 2006, Vowell served as the keynote speaker at the 27th Annual Kentucky Women Writers Conference.[14] In August and September 2006, she toured the United States as part of the Revenge Of The Book Eaters national tour, which benefits the children's literacy centers 826NYC, 826CHI, 826 Valencia, 826LA, 826 Michigan, and 826 Seattle.

Vowell also provided commentary in Robert Wuhl's 2005 Assume the Position HBO specials.

Voice and acting work[edit]

Vowell's first book, which had radio as its central subject, caught the attention of This American Life host Ira Glass, and it led to Vowell becoming a frequent contributor to the show. Many of Vowell's essays have had their genesis as segments on the show.

In 2004, Vowell provided the voice of Violet Parr, the shy teenager in the Pixar animated film The Incredibles and reprised her role for the various related video games[1] and Disney on Ice presentations featuring The Incredibles. She will also return as the voice of Violet in The Incredibles 2.[15] The makers of The Incredibles discovered Vowell from episode 81 – Guns[16]This American Life, where she and her father fire a homemade cannon. Pixar made a test animation for Violet using audio from that sequence, which is included on the DVD version of The Incredibles. She also wrote and was featured in Vowellett - An Essay by Sarah Vowell included on the DVD version of The Incredibles, where she reflects on the differences between being super hero Violet and being an author of history books on the subject of assassinated presidents, and what it means to her nephew Owen. Vowell also played Fernanda, Theacher Aunt Deborah and Mary Kelly in The School Future.

Vowell provided commentary in "Murder at the Fair: The Assassination of President McKinley", which is part of the History Channel miniseries, 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America.

She is featured prominently in the They Might Be Giants documentary Gigantic. She also participated on the DVD commentary for the movie, along with the film's director and They Might Be Giants' John Linnell and John Flansburgh.

In September 2006, Vowell appeared as a minor character in the ABC drama Six Degrees. She appeared in an episode of HBO's Bored to Death, as an interviewer in a bar. In 2010, Vowell appeared briefly in the film Please Give, as a shopper.[1]

On November 17, 2011, Vowell joined The Daily Show as the new Senior Historical Context Correspondent.

Personal life[edit]

Vowell is part Cherokee (about 1/8 on her mother's side and 1/16 on her father's side). According to Vowell, "Being at least a little Cherokee in northeastern Oklahoma is about as rare and remarkable as being a Michael Jordan fan in Chicago." She retraced the path of the forced removal of the Cherokee from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma, known as the Trail of Tears, with her twin sister Amy. In 1998, This American Life chronicled her story, devoting the entire hour to her work.[17]

Vowell is on the advisory board of 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center for students aged 6–18 in Brooklyn.

Vowell is an atheist, though she describes herself as "culturally Christian."[18] In an interview with The A.V. Club, when asked if there was a God, she stated, "Absolutely not."[19]




Video games[edit]

Short film[edit]

2005Vowellett – An Essay by Sarah VowellHerself, writer, archive footageIncluded as a bonus feature to The Incredibles on home media; details Vowell's voice work during the film while also writing Assassination Vacation and how her This American Life writing/narration earned her the role of Violet.

Partial bibliography[edit]


External links[edit]

  1. ^ abcSarah Vowell on IMDb
  2. ^Vowell, Sarah. Take the Cannoli. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0743205405. 
  3. ^Schmidt, Carol (2010-04-30). "Vowell's constant". Montana State University. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  4. ^Assassination Vacation, pg. 242
  5. ^"Hardcover Nonfiction: Apr 03, 2011 - Apr 17, 2011". The New York Times Best Seller list. 2011-04-10. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  6. ^Pierce, Charles P. (2015-11-17). "Sarah Vowell's 'Lafayette in the Somewhat United States'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  7. ^Dwyer, Colin. "'Somewhat United' Brings Lafayette Down From His Pedestal". Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  8. ^The New York Times
  9. ^The Washington Post
  10. ^"Sarah Vowell". Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  11. ^"Sarah Vowell". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  12. ^North, Anna (2009-10-06). "Sarah Vowell, Jon Stewart, And The Freedom Of The Bowl Haircut". Jezebel. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  13. ^"Barnes & Noble Biography: Meet the writers - Sarah Vowell". Steven Barclay Agency. Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. 
  14. ^"Women Writers Conference Announces Creative Nonfiction Contest". University of Kentucky. 2005-10-11. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. 
  15. ^"D23 Expo: Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films". July 14, 2017. Retrieved July 14, 2017. 
  16. ^"81: Guns". This American Life. 1997-10-24. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  17. ^"107: Trail of Tears". This American Life. 1998-07-03. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  18. ^Vowell, Sarah (2008-01-21). "Radical Love Gets a Holiday". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-03.  
  19. ^Thompson, Stephen (2002-10-09). "Is There A God?". Retrieved 2015-07-03. 

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