Literary Birthday – 23 May – James Moffett

James Moffett was born 23 May 1929 and died 19 December 1996.


  1. A child is not an empty vessel when he enters school; he comes replete with a set of abstractions about the world and himself.
  2. Every story is first person, whether the speaker identifies himself or not.
  3. We should be able to use English to explore other fields and subjects. Do not limit ourselves to only focusing on one subject, English, when its power can be used to explore a variety of different ideas, themes, knowledge.
  4. The elements of discourse are a first person, second person, and a third person; a speaker, a listener, and subject; informer, informed, and information; narrator, auditor, and story; transmitter, receiver, and message.
  5. Ideally, a student would write because he was intent on saying something for real reasons of his own and because he wanted to get certain effects on a definite audience.

James Moffett was an American writer and teacher. He was the author of Teaching the Universe of Discourse, Active Voice: A Writing Program Across the Curriculum, and Storm in the Mountains: A Case Study of Censorship, Conflict, and Consciousness. Moffett was the editor of Points of View. He was the recipient of a Carnegie Corporation Grant and a Distinguished Author Award from the California Association of Teachers of English. Moffett tried to create an English curriculum that would focus on the discourse of any type from thought, spoken, written, literary, and non-literary.

Source for image and quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 22nd May 2020