Have you ever had to read a memoir, autobiography, or biography for a class? Are these types of nonfiction literature more memorable when they are paired with instruction, discussion, background etc. in a class setting or when they prompt individual exploration of the information?
Compared to fiction, I have read only a few nonfiction pieces in class. However, most have been memorable because teachers always pick books with a strong historical background. For instance, the presidential speeches included in the AP Language curriculum are usually tied to an important event and make students curious about their contents. In my opinion, this factor when firmly married to individual exploration of the text, allows nonfiction literature to truly resonate in my mind.
Nevertheless, that does not mean the instruction and discussion found in a class setting do not have a place in making a text more memorable but as someone who prefers to explore a piece of work on my own, I only need them as guide. A good example of this is when I read The Crucible this year. Though it is not nonfiction per se, what brought me to fully understand the text, beside my interest, was the slight nudging I got from my English teacher and how during class discussions we analyzed deeper themes than the ones I had explored. All these aspects of my reading, cause me, till this day to recall it.
In conclusion, nonfiction literature, to me, is more memorable when partnered with strong contextual information that causes the reader to explore the book alone. However, being in a school setting also helps prevent missing crucial details and guides you through the work.