The Personal Essay and the Memoir: A Comparison
This thesis will attempt to put into perspective the various differences between the personal essay and the memoir. Furthermore, it will discuss why the personal essay is more useful for the creative portion of the thesis. According to Wendell Harris, the immediate effect of the personal essay is "simply the consciousness of participating in an individual way of looking at things [and] of savoring the striking or pungent phrasing that gives force to the author's individual point of view" (Harris 936). By examining personal essayist such as Jo Ann Beard and Phillip Lopate and comparing their work to memoirs by Abigail Thomas and Joan Didion, one will be able to clarify the fundamental differences between these authors and their types of writings.