In Defense of Clichés

A Half-Hearted Polemic


  • Logan Wiedenfeld Alcorn State University


Cliches, Writing Pedagogy, Discourse Community


This column considers a) how clichés are conventionally approached in the writing classroom and b) why such approaches are often misguided.  At the core of this column is the idea that clichés are important tokens of community that bind speaker and audience, writer and reader.  This essay does not endorse absolutely the use of clichés in student writing, but neither does it condemn it.  Rather, this essay suggests that writing instructors and students alike should approach the use of clichés with more nuance and awareness of their cultural and linguistic functions.

Author Biography

  • Logan Wiedenfeld, Alcorn State University

    Logan Wiedenfeld is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Alcorn State University in southwest Mississippi. He is an unabashed generalist and has published on composition pedagogy, literary modernism, the twentieth-century Bildungsroman, and American cinema. He is also an accomplished naturalist with taxonomic expertise in the mushrooms and other fungi of the Gulf South.