RWA: Thinking About the Personal Essay As Genre

RWA: Thinking About the Personal Essay as Genre

Below, you will find links to several personal essays.  While the genre of the personal essay is vast and broad, ALL personal essays are generally written in the first person and reflect on an individual’s identity in some way.  Please choose one of the following personal essays and read it.  Then, in one page, explain why you chose it and what you liked about it.

Some Personal Essays

“Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie

"Notes of a Native Son" by James Baldwin

“Chipped Beef” by David Sedaris

“City Limits” by Colson Whitehead

“The Lost Art of Reading” by David Ulin

“Goodbye To All That” by Joan Didion

“Winter Journal” by Paul Auster

Please note:  If you are interested in reading more about the personal essay as a genre, as well as about its history, please take a look at the “Introduction” to Philip Lopate’s book The Art of the Personal Essay, parts of which can be found at the following link:

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