An excerpt from essay by Marita Golden in the book "three minutes or less: life lessons from America's greatest writers "

Writers are always headed or looking for home. Home is the first sentence, questing into the craggy terrain of imagination. Home is the final sentence, polished, perfected, nailed down. I am an American writer, and so my sense of place is fluid, ever shifting. The spaciousness of this land reigns and pushes against the borders of self-censorship and hesitation. I have claimed at one point or other everyplace as my home.

Based on the meaning of "sentence"(the punishment given by a court), though it obviously would not fit in this case, I think "sentence" still holds a negative connotation. "Home," however, in the passage is what the author seek for.
So what's the other meaning of "sentence" here?

1 Answer 1


It means “sentence” in the grammatical sense, i.e., a self-contained unit of language comprising:

  • either an interjection by itself, or
  • a verb at minimum, usually with a subject, objects, and modifiers being linked to it.

The writer is saying that writing is an act of claiming a place of one’s own and feeling at home in it. Every time one starts to write, one is headed into uncharted territory, claiming it as home. By the time one finishes what one is writing, one is at home in that territory.

Since the writer is American, she’s drawing on the mythology of homesteaders striking out West to explore and settle down in a new place. Since a writer writes many works, each work is a new act of such territorial conquest, and so she says she has at one time or another made every experience home by writing about it.

Nothing to do with sentence in the sense of a prison term.

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