General Question

amazingme's avatar

Would I write this essay in first person?

Asked by amazingme (1820 points ) December 6th, 2011

I am writing an essay for my English class. Here are the directions: Write a critique of a work of literary criticism concerning The Scarlett Letter. You must use one of the articles of literary criticism attached to the assignment sheet.

So my question is whether or not to write the essay in first person. I feel like I should, but then again, not completely sure.
Thanks!

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8 Answers

janbb's avatar

Usually you would not write a formal essay such as this in the first person. The assignment is not asking for a personal essay which would be written in the first person; a critique would not be.

ninjanick's avatar

I say no. My English teacher told my class to never write an essay saying “I believe” or you’re going to get it wrong”. I believe is in first person point of view. So don’t do it. I take AP English.

mangeons's avatar

As @janbb said, formal essays aren’t written in first person unless it’s a personal narrative. However, in place of I, you can use “one” in situations such as “one can infer,” etc.

Also, never write the words “I think” or anything similar in your essays. It implies that either a) your writing is so bad, the reader can’t tell what you’re writing about, or b) you think the reader is so stupid that they won’t be able to understand your writing. I can imagine that neither of these are impressions you’d like to give off.

amazingme's avatar

Thanks! That helps out a lot!

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
PhiNotPi's avatar

No, never use first person. My teacher says that it is pointless to write “I think” because the paper is by definition what you think. If it helps you, write the paper is first person, and then go back and edit it out. Change “I think/believe blahblahbalh” to “blahblahbalh”.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s all well and good to change I believe blah blah blah to blah blah blah, but you damn well better support blah blah blah. Give reasons for your arguments.

IN this particular case, I think you should match your point of view to the point of view the author of the critique uses. If the author uses the first person, then I think it is ok to respond in the first person. If the criticism uses the third person, then you should mirror it that way, unless you want to critique the very idea of criticizing a work using third person.

Do any of the critiques use first person?

Response moderated (Spam)

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