The Function of Form, Fiction, and Faith in Elisabeth Elliot’s Life Writing

Mareike Zapp


This article explores the role of form, fiction, and faith in the formulation of the self in the life writing of U.S.-American writer and missionary Elisabeth Elliot. Her novel No Graven Image (1966) depicts the experiences of an unmarried female missionary who encounters personal and professional difficulties in Ecuador. Parallels between the novel’s content and Elliot’s past experiences as recorded in her journals and her memoir These Strange Ashes (1975) raise the question whether the fictional genre can fulfill an autobiographical function. In this regard, the article investigates the influence of the writer’s present circumstances on the writing process and asks whether Elliot’s writer’s block, which she outlines in her journal, plays into the composition and language of the novel. The literary examination reveals the impact of Elliot’s faith in negotiating her self in different genres.


Life Writing, Fiction, Author, Faith, Elisabeth Elliot

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