Thesis Title

The Simple Life and Other Essays


Simon J. Hand

Date of Graduation

Spring 1999


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Nancy Walker


The original and most persistent problem addressed by this project has been how to write an effective personal essay. The requirement that a "creative" thesis include a critical introduction also presents theoretical problems, but since the creative work must first stand on its own merit, the real problem lies in discovering how one's creative process works. This in turn consists of such questions as how to choose a voice and how to decide whether a particular subject will work, questions which, ultimately, can only be answered intuitively. My approach to finding what "works" has also consisted largely of trial and error, with the result that I threw out an entire essay and completely reworked two others. A second major problem, that of defining the personal essay, is addressed in the introduction. Here I attempt to replace a popular misconception of the genre with a more complete one, by asserting that the personal essay is more than a short piece of autobiography.

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Simon J Hand