Saturday, September 26, 2009

Self-Reference

So while we were discussing our drafts in class on Friday, Natalia pointed out that writing essays without the use of first person was intended to keep people on topic about their essays, and that it probably wasn't necessary anymore. This wasn't really a big surprise to me at the time, but after spending a bit of time thinking about it, this is kind of a big deal, especially for me.

After spending my childhood with the strict impression that I could not reference myself in essays, I developed methods to cope, by inventing imaginary readers and superimposing my opinions onto them. In fact, that is one of the major things that I do in my writing. I create situations that I imagine other people in, and I report the result as if I had been in that situation.

With this "new" concept of self-reference being available, I can now circumvent large amount of confusing circumstances while writing. I can simply say what I think about things or how I reacted without needing to assume that any person would think that way, since my imaginary readers could be anyone. Of course, I that also probably means that I need to realize that I am not the only person in the world with a valid opinion, but I'd rather not.

3 comments:

  1. I definitely agree with you when you say that our new privilege of being able to use the word "I" in our essays is a big deal. Before Friday i had never thought that being able to use "I" in an essay was a privilege and that you had to earn it. I had always thought of it as somewhat of a no-no when it came to writing essays and now that i know that it's not such a taboo thing to include in an essay and that I've finally earned the privilege to use it, is pretty awesome in my opinion. =]

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  2. Thinking about it now, I am also very surprised that we are "allowed" to use "I" in our essays again. The reasons why our past teachers have steered us away from using it are legitimate, and now that we may be able to, I am wondering how I would go ahead and use it. I guess I am also afraid of going off on tangents or inserting my own bias. Often times it is difficult not to say "I" because otherwise the sentence turns into a huge generalization about "people" or "readers." It is quite liberating to think that now we can insert our own opinion without circumventing the subject. I think that our opinions and perspectives will now shine stronger through our work. I cannot wait to try it out!

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  3. I also agree. If using "I" in poetry makes the poem more personal and more relatable, why not use it in writing? We had said that writing was not just a way to show our knowledge of the topic, but also a way to self reflect. Using first person only makes that process easier and easier to understand.

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