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First Person

The authors of these pieces are using their own personal experience as evidence. To tell what they know, they use first-person pronouns: I, me, my, mine and myself or we, us, our, ours, ourselves.

All writers in this collection speak for themselves—and themselves alone.


Bad Dog

Writer Rachel Maizes recounts life with Chance, her often aggressive, mixed breed dog.

Definition • Humans and Their Animals • First Person • Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Beware the Beagle

Emily Yoffe, Slate's "Dear Prudie" and a reformed beagle owner, explains why these headstrong little monsters might not be the best choice for a first-time dog owner.

Narration Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

A Box of Puppies

Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO series Girls, chronicles the dogs that she has pursued as pets.

Example and Illustration • Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Cheating in College Video

YouTube vlogger sWooZie describes what happened after he spotted two friends cheating on a humanities exam.
Narration • School Life • First Person • Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Crabs

Novelist Edwidge Danticat describes a meal that she will never forget.

Description Times and PlacesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Deep Intellect

Naturalist Sy Montgomery gets in the mind of an octopus and is amazed not only at what she finds but also at the existing research on these intelligent creatures.

Argument and Persuasion Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Dive Nights

This brief memoir examines the conflict within a family when an economic reality crashes into a cultural value. Writer Jiayang Fan tries to understand why her parents accused her of a family "crime" that she did not commit and did not understand.

Narration IdentityFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

End the Charade: Let Athletes Major in Sports

David Pargman, professor emeritus at Florida State University, gives his reasons why athletes should study sports, their real focus in college.

Argument and Persuasion SportFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Epcot Taught Me to Love International Food

Writer Alexandra Owens describes how she discovered international cuisine by visiting EPCOT's World Showcase in Walt Disney World.

Cause and Effect IdentityFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Facebook: The New Meaning of "Friend"

Writer Val Brown shares her own take on how Facebook has redefined the word "friend."

Definition IdentityFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Fifth Avenue, Uptown

Writer James Baldwin argues for human rights, using history to compare blacks/whites, southerners/northerners, and the haves/have-nots.

Argument and Persuasion Modern ChallengesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Four-Legged Reason to Keep It Together

Timothy Braun, a writer and teacher, describes how his life changed after rescuing Dusty, a shelter dog on death row.

Narration Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

The Fourth State of Matter

Essayist Jo Ann Beard recounts a workplace shooting.

Narration Modern ChallengesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Fruitful Questions: Sometimes, Things Aren't as Different as They Seem

Freelance author James Sollisch explains the nature of critical thinking by giving examples of people who shifted old paradigms.

Example and Illustration School LifeFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

How I Fell for Cats

Candy Crowley, a CNN reporter and devoted dog person, explains how two cats changed her opinion of felines.

Narration Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

How I Found Love and Companionship Online

Match.com and PetFinder.org want to help people find their perfect companion. Susan Hogan, a writer and teacher, describes her experiences using these two websites.

Comparison and Contrast Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

How to Get a Real Education

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, explains how he got the most out of his college education and offers advice to students now enrolled.

(This essay is now behind the Wall Street Journal paywall. You must access it through Newsstand. Sign in to Atlas to access this database.)

Process Analysis School LifeFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.

CEO Kyle Wiens explains the correlation between someone's grammar competence and that person's readiness for professional life.

Cause and Effect Language and WritingFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

I'm a Cat Lady? Thank You

Stephanie Butnik, writing for the New York Times, tries to dispel the myth that cat people are crazy by defining the "new" cat owner.

Definition • Humans and Their Animals • First Person • Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

I’m Not “That Creepy Guy from the Internet”: How Gamergate Gave the Geek Community a Bad Name

Actor Arthur Chu describes his history as a gamer to show his understanding of and anger at the Gamergate community.

Narration Modern ChallengesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Is It Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?

Steve Almond, writing for the New York Times, believes that fans must admit that they are complicit in the brain-damaged players that football produces.

Argument and Persuasion SportFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

A Journey into My Colon — and Yours

Former Miami Herald Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dave Barry finally gets a colonoscopy (and we all get to read about it).

Narration Times and PlacesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Journey Into Night

Essayist David Sedaris describes a flight to Paris in which he takes advantage of first-class seating, meets a grieving man, and wonders about the genuineness of people, including himself.

Narration IdentityFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

The Market as God

Harvard professor of divinity Harvey Cox takes a theological approach to understanding the business world.

Analogy Times and PlacesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

The Most Delicious Love of All

Although foodie Claire Berger entertains the idea of dating men, in this essay she explains that her current relationship is with food.

Analogy Love and RelationshipsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

My High-School Hoax

Novelist Teddy Wayne recounts a plagiarism episode and the lesson that he eventually learned from it.
Narration School LifeFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog

Farhad Manjoo, a technology columnist, argues that people deserve some dog-free zones.

Argument and Persuasion Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Of Greatness

Abraham Cowley, a seventeenth-century poet, explores the vanity of human wishes and makes some proposals about how we should live.

Argument and Persuasion IdentityFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

On the Pleasure of Hating

In this nineteeth century essay, writer William Hazlitt argues that hatred of others is at bottom hatred of self.

Argument and Persuasion Love and RelationshipsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

The Other Side of the Living Sea

Author Tiphanie Yanique describes Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, the place where her grandmother was raised.

Description Times and PlacesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Parenting and Heart Attacks

Writer Abby Sher, a 40-year-old mother, writes about her young daughter learning to deal with death.

Narration Love and RelationshipsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

The Perfect Essay

John Kaag, a professor of philosophy and expository writing, explains how his mother's constant and consistent criticisms of his essays affected his writing.

Cause and Effect Language and WritingFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts Connect with Author

Same Love Video

In the video for the song "Same Love," hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis argue for marriage equality.

Argument and Persuasion Love and RelationshipsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Authors

Shut up and Eat

Author John Lanchester explains how our idea of food and what "food" means has changed.

Definition IdentityFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Such, Such Were the Joys

George Orwell, best known for the novels 1984 and Animal Farm, recounts his experiences at St. Cyprian's, an English preparatory school for boys.

Narration School LifeFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

To Siri, with Love: How One Boy with Autism Became BFF with Apple’s Siri

Judith Newman, Gus's mother, movingly demonstrates that modern interactions via technology aren't all bad.

Narration Love and RelationshipsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

Upon Some Verses of Virgil

Michel de Montaigne, writing in the seventeenth century, expands upon eros and marriage and other human problems.

Cause and Effect Love and RelationshipsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

The Vietnam in Me

Novelist Tim O'Brien, a Vietnam veteran, explores war, love, history, depression, and loss.

Narration Times and PlacesFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Why I Quit the Company

Tomoyuki Iwashita, once employed in a "dream" job, examines the effects of his working for a traditional, demanding Japanese company.

Cause and Effect IdentityFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Winter Animals

Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau describes the animals that he encounters during his two-year-long experiment of living a simple life in nature.

Description Humans and Their AnimalsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

Yes, It Does Matter If Jonathan Bennett Is Gay and Out of the Closet or Not, and Here's Why

Noah Michelson, Executive Editor of the Huffington Post's Gay Voices, argues that homosexuals, especially homosexual celebrities, have a responsibility to come out publicly.

Argument and Persuasion Identity • First Person Discussion Questions & Writing PromptsConnect with Author

You Are Ready to Find Her

In the process of giving up her child for adoption, Leigh Anne Tani reflects on her own adoption into a family.

Example and Illustration Love and RelationshipsFirst Person Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts