An Exercise of First and Third Person Perspective

In our writing gateway class, we were writing two paragraphs for our repurposing assignment, one addressing in first and second person perspective and another in third person perspective. From this exercise, I noticed that by selectively choosing one perspective, not only the mode, style, and tone of the writings changed, but also the level of engagement of the writer and audience. By reflecting the experience, I also became more aware of my style of writing as I found myself struggled in writing in first person.

Writing in first and second person produced a very explicit relationship between the writer and audience. The tone was much more personal as it allows me to narrate instead of report. The mode is a mix of an argumentative and narrative paragraph. From the writer perspective, the “I” made me consciously address my opinions, experiences, and positions that became firmer than I expected. As a writer, I felt those sentences are explicit arguments in the writing and therefore, produce a high level of engagement and sense of ownership towards the writing. However, on the other hand, I noticed that “You” was rarely used in my writings and I realized that as a writer, I could improve on linking my positions to the audience by actively and intentionally engaging them as if they are co-writers. Therefore, writing in first and second person allows me to gain a hybrid of personal and objective position that may appeal to a wider audience as well as a higher level of engagement as a writer. On the other hand, it loses the specificity in contexts and audience position as there was not enough “You” as compared to “I”.

On the other hand, writing in third person developed a more objective tone and arguments towards my topic. Particularly, through minimizing the first and second person pronouns, a tone of formality and authority emerged. The writer and reader position seems to have more of a reporter-listener or a active-reactive dynamic. From a writer perspective, I engaged less during the writing process, as it was difficult to share personal experiences without utilizing “I”. By writing in third person, it seemed to achieve the opposite results of the first person perspective.

Overall, this assignment made me reflect on my writing experience and how I could improve by actively design the tone, mode, and styles with different rhetoric.

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