Learning about a Familiar Essay

Posted date: January 30, 2018 learning-about-a-familiar-essay

Students in college often have to write academic essays and may be simply fed up with the structure and formal language requirements and the lack of emotions. Sometimes, you just want to speak out and show your feelings towards a certain problem and not just provide statistics and data, supported by scientific background information. In order to express your attitude towards a certain issue, you may be asked to write a familiar essay that will have to respond to the situation with the peculiar personal attitude.

Studying the Composition of a Familiar Essay

This type of composition has been present in English literature for quite a long time. Moreover, the names of writers that are regarded as familiar essayists are well-known all over the worlds. Among them, there are such popular authors as Alice Walker, Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf, Richard Rodriguez, Annie Dillard, George Orwell and Charles Lamb.


What is so peculiar about a familiar essay is that it is usually written in an informal style, with humoristic tone, not bothering about serious things. A common familiar essay includes detailed observations, personal reaction towards a certain object, emphasized with the plain course of life.

Nowadays, a familiar essay is gaining more and more popularity among the modern authors. It allows to get distracted from everyday writing routine and get absorbed into some rhetoric means. This makes the target audience become more interested in the written thoughts and reflections, refreshed with the writer’s peculiar style.

There are some authors that live only to create familiar essays. Every day they seek for inspiration wherever they go and try to direct the simplest things through the prism of their consciousness. The result of such writers’ work is the true feelings that are the reflection of what is in their heart and what is on their mind.


The eternal problem of defining essays, formal or informal, expository or conventional, impersonal or familiar will always remain a tough discussion. The line between the types is quite blurred and hardly anyone can clearly compose an essay of one exact type.

Back to the beginning of XX century, a familiar essay was a popular piece of prose that was constantly created by authors and kindly perceived by readers. Later, the genre was forgotten, outliving its worse years in decay. Luckily, at the end of the 20th – beginning of 21st century various magazines understood that they must have been lacking something witty, something sincere, and something that would make a reader become fully involved and attracted to the article. This is how the genre of a familiar essay began its revival. The essayists of this type began to appear as mushrooms after summer rains, being hired by the journals to get more and more readers. It was understood that familiar essay was what people needed at that time – pure feelings, emotional experience and, indeed, it was more than worse it. 


Unlike the academic essay, in which the author tries to prove his/her mind with the help of solid arguments and supportive statements, familiar essays want the reader to be on the same level as the author. The audience must not feel themselves inferior or suppressed with the amount of information described in an academic essay. The familiar essay is designed to influence people’s feelings and emotions; it is a kind of conversation in the written form. That is why people feel much more comfortable, when they understand that they are treated as equal. They are not asked to believe, but they are asked to try to understand what the author wants them to feel.