Date of Graduation

Spring 2001


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Nancy Walker

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


It is my contention that writers wll violate their own privacy, that is, reveal their innermost thoughts and dreams, when they are comfortable with the manner and context in which their privacy is broken. Thus, the vehicle for "crossing the line" is important. By discovering their "personal voice" through utilization of the narrative personal essay, writers will be able to break the fear of writing in a voice that reveals the essence of their souls. The personal essay is not a work of fiction. In this mode, writers are forced to self-reflect on their subject, accessing a mercurial memory, then transcribing a jumble of half-remembered events, raw feelings, and private thoughts by funneling the information into the form in the context of their present-day situation. The danger, therefore, is that writers may go too far in revealing themselves, thus alienating their readers. It is essential that the writer remember to make the essay relevant and accessible to any reader. This thesis demonstrates how I have managed to adjust to the pitfalls inherent in writing in this mode.


© Michael Lewis Frizell

Open Access