Most students were taught in no uncertain terms never to use “I” in an essay of literary analysis. However, there is a time and a place for everything – even “I.”
It is not wrong to refer to yourself (using the pronouns I and me and my) in academic writing, but it is often counterproductive. The audience assumes that the paper is the writer’s opinion of the work in question. The writer does not need to remind the reader of that with phrasing like “I think” or “in my opinion.”
It is often wise to use a more remote voice when writing an academic essay. However, if the writer’s personal experience of the work is significant, he or she should go ahead and use it.
There is a difference between these two statements: ◦ “It seems to me that The Hunger Games is a very powerful book, in my opinion.” ◦ “When Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place in the Reaping, in the book The Hunger Games, I felt an overwhelming sense of personal pride and purpose.”
The first emphasizes the subjectivity of the writer’s opinion. ◦ Okay… so what? The second emphasizes the emotional power of the scene in question. ◦ This could be used in connection with a discussion about the author’s appeal to pathos.
The problems with using “you” : ◦ Your reader may disagree with you ◦ “To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.” The reason to use “one” or “a person”: ◦ Even if your reader disagrees, he/she accepts the possibility of your argument ◦ “To be old and wise, one must first be young and stupid.”