Researching Writing Lives: Mary Bradbury (circa 1900)

Undergoing the Writing Lives module was taking a step out of my comfort zone, as throughout my degree, and life, studying English, the majority of my work has been analysing literature in the format of an essay or an exam. This resulted in the feeling of apprehension, wondering if I could adjust to a different way of studying and writing in a different format and style. However, Mary Bradbury’s thoroughly enjoyable and exciting memoir changed my whole attitude on the matter, leaving the feeling of reading her memoir out of curiosity, rather than as something that had to be done for the purpose of my education.

What proved challenging about Mary’s blog is the lack of information which exists about Mary. She only discusses her childhood, not referring to her adult life in any way, shape or form. Mary only allows the reader to gain the most basic understanding of her life, such as how many people are in her family, via reading the complete memoir. It is this allusiveness which draws me to Mary, as her cinematic approach of not allowing the audience to gain complete understanding immediately is one of the many reasons why I found researching and understanding her so interesting. It was overcoming this obstacle and delving deep into Mary’s  life which was one of the key reasons why I found her work so rewarding to write about.

Through Mary’s thoroughly engaging childhood and memoir,  I gained a greater understand of what life was like for people living in rural England in the early 1900’s. Ashamedly, I did not have any detailed understanding of how life was lived in places such as North Yorkshire, as most the reading of this era I have ever completed is usually in the major, industrial cities. It felt like a long overdue achievement to develop my knowledge for how these people lived their lives, as the values which Mary and her family possess, such as hard work and independence, are ones which modern day culture should really adopt into their every day lives.

A key reason why I have enjoyed this module so much is how I have learned how to write blogs. Prior to the module I have never written a blog and therefore learning to promote my blogs on social media seemed daunting and completely foreign to me. However, I have developed these crucial life skills throughout the module. I believe the ability to post your work on social media is a key life skill and, as technology becomes increasingly influential in modern society, it is a skill which should be mandatory for all students at university. The development of these skills, along with the knowledge on how to apply myself on a broader platform are skills which I am sure I will use throughout my working life, and I am very grateful for the module for this.

Overall, I would like to thank Helen Rogers for her guidance and assistance throughout the module. It has been a really enjoyable module, and I am glad to have had such an interesting author in Mary Bradbury to scrutinise. I hope that whoever has read the posts I have published have enjoyed the work and been as addicted as I was to finding out more on Mary’s life. I have had a positive reaction from social media so far, and I hope that there are many more secret fans of Mary and what her childhood entailed. The ownership of an author blog, along with the responsibility to publish her words to a broader audience, results in immense pride and dedication to do justice to the words of a person who has lived such an interesting life. I fully recommend the module for this reason, along with the knowledge that should you choose the module, you will gain key life skills which cannot be acquired by writing a simple essay.

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