Is It Endangered on Campus?
All writing is personal. It doesn't matter if you are writing poetry or a scientific article on laboratory findings; a memoir; or, a report informed by economic data. As the source of a written document, the "Self" structures, shapes, impacts.
It is perhaps correct to say that some writing should be more personal, other writing, less personal. For example, a newspaper article written by a journalist analyzing a catastrophe where many people were injured might be considered less personal. The journalist's goal would be to inform neutrally, to transmit information; however, a blog post or memoir written by a victim of that catastrophe, their reflections on their experiences and how their life and perspective has changed because of their victimhood, could definitely be considered more personal.
The issue is not whether this or that piece of writing is personal or not, but rather, just how personal is it? To what extent does the writer draw upon personal resources such as their unique experiences, opinions, and identity characteristics, i.e. gender, ethnicity, religious background, economic class, etc..
All writing is personal, some kinds more than others. In paper number one we are interested in more personal writing, essays that leverage the personal, writing that is deliberately and transparently shaped and structured by the writer's--that is, your--unique perspective.
Directions: For paper #1 select a chapter of essays from America Now Textbook that focus on a specific issue. You are to write an essay that analyzes and responds to the essays you have chosen and, most importantly, articulates an opinion as regards the topic treated that is supported by your personal experiences, your unique perspective. Imagine your reader does not know you and has not read the essays you have chosen. Thus, you need to try to clarify key elements of your identity that you think influence and structure your opinion and your analysis; in other words, you need to introduce yourself to your reader. Also, because they have not read these essays, you should provide brief summaries/reviews of each essay.
Organization: Your essay should be deliberately structured. There should be an introduction paragraph, unified body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Even though the core goal of this essay is to respond personally to essays you have selected, it is also important that this paper articulates a clear argument, a succinct statement that outlines your opinion as regards the topic being treated.