In our last class, we discussed the idea of perspectives when we write. We went back to previous papers and noted instances where we switched between first person and second person. The goal was to find out the potential benefits and pitfalls of each voice.
The essay I chose to repurpose was an argumentative paper about e-books, and I took the position that Kindles were vastly superior to good, old-fashioned paperbacks. I wrote very broadly and generally, mostly using the second person point of view. There were the occasional lapses into first person, but for the most part it was written in terms of “you.”
While rewriting an intro for the paper using first person, I noticed a better sense of style and more engagement with the material. As much as people want to feel spoken to and related to, they prefer to hear someone else’s story. I think I was able to talk as myself, giving the piece a different flavor. It was more descriptive with more real-life examples, and I felt more invested in the piece.
The second introduction was a little bland. My style of writing was still present, but it seemed like a shell of the first piece. I was assuming the position of a spokesperson for society, despite the fact these views are largely my own. It felt less personal, and its broadness didn’t quite paint a picture like the previous paragraph.
This isn’t to say that the second person is entirely negative. It is something that might be helpful to define the general context of your paper. 1st person has the occasional drawback as well, which can run the risk of becoming too involved in your own experiences that reader is lost. For the most part, 1st person allows for a great expression of style and takes away any assumptions made about the audience, making it a better rhetorical position than second person.