Dirk’s purpose is to give young students a simple idea of the genres, expand the understanding of genres in students’ minds, and write a simple, straightforward, and valuable guide for students on using different genres in writing. Dirk argues that “knowledge of
genres goes far beyond a simple discussion of types” (p. 250), so it is essential to master the non-rigid skills of defining the genre and following the chosen genre. The purpose of this literature essay is to illustrate the concept of genre and make it clear that people live in a genre environment daily, using several genres a day, communicating with people, and representing themselves, for example, on social networks.
To master a genre well, you need to know the context in which the work is created. There are different types of work in the same genre, each for a unique context. It is beneficial to have a good understanding of the purpose for which the work is being written. The purpose is at the core of any genre and well-written piece. It is necessary to understand which read the work is being written to choose the appropriate rhetorical figures and notation. In this context, Dirk gives examples: “You would probably not share a risqué joke with your mom, send a “Hey Buddy” email to your professor” (253). Understanding the relevance and context, audience, and the desired form (including rhetorical) will allow you to choose a genre successfully.
From the beginning, Dirk expanded the concept of genre, saying that it is more than a classification. Previously, it was used solely to indicate form and was based on its use by the previous author. That is, the genre contained what was written by other authors in similar situations. This continuity is present to this day, so one of Dirk’s advice is to read the work of previous authors to understand the genre better. The genre, expanding and becoming dependent on the context, becomes a human habitat. People do not usually realize that they live at the intersection of different writing genres, but each time they create texts, they come to a result: a resume for a job, a love note, or a complaint in the supermarket. It follows from all this that the genre cannot be rigid, although there are always specific obligatory schemes.
Dirk, Kerry. “Navigating Genres”. Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky, vol. 1, Parlor Press LLC, 2010, pp. 249-262.