Lopate- Personal essay

Philip Lopate’s “The Art of the Personal Essay” describes several qualities of a good writer. He also mentions that personal essays include intimacy, digression, retention of “I”, contractions and expansions on self, self-discovery, honesty, and contradiction.

After reading the introduction, I agree with the author about his views about personal essays. I agree with Lopate that personal essays include intimacy, “The writer seems to be speaking directly into your ear, confiding everything from gossip to wisdom” (Lopate Pg 23).

I feel that all his other opinions about personal essays are interlinked. It is true that while writing personal essays, writers tend to write in first person, that is, the use of “I” is frequently used. While the writer is talking about himself, his mind becomes an open book. While writing, all his thoughts are expressed and he becomes honest about everything.  While being honest, he is also thinking about other situations that affected him, thinking about the outcome and contradicting its results, “Personal essayists converse with the reader because they are already having dialogues and disputes with themselves” (Lopate Pg 24).  The writer has a constant flow of thoughts that digresses and due to this; personal essays unlike formal essays do not have a fixed format. After the entire process of being honest and contradicting his own feelings, the writer discovers himself.

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