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Instructions for Essay 2, English 20 – Price of Belonging
In 3-4 typed, double-spaced pages according to MLA typing rules, I am asking you to discuss one of the literary selections below as well as your own experiences. You will need to be concise to effectively address both. You may begin with either the literary selection or your own experience as long as they are presented as separate discussions with a smooth transition between the two.
Once again, you will need to offer a thesis statement in your introductory paragraph after introducing the general idea of what individuals are willing to do to belong. For instance, if you are writing about Iwata’s “Race Without Face,” a debatable thesis statement could claim that although Iwata paid a heavy price in his attempt to belong in a white world, he ended up with a far more valuable reward than the superficial one he first set out to gain. Such a statement now needs to be demonstrated in the body paragraphs. What was the superficial reward he initially wanted, what was he willing to do to obtain it, what was the valuable reward he gained. The same could be applied to your personal experience – what did you want, what were you willing to do to get it, what was lost or gained or both.
Some of us go to great lengths to fit in, even changing certain aspects of our identity, while others maintain their identity so as not to lose who they are and where they belong. Perhaps you changed your hairstyle to fit in with the crowd. Maybe you were willing to sacrifice your morals and engaged in dangerous behavior to be accepted by a certain group of people. Or you may have been the one who stood up for what you believed and ended up alone as a result. In any of these situations there may have been something gained and lost. Your discussion will need to address the advantages or shortcomings, depending on the circumstances, of recreating or maintaining one’s identity. In your discussion of the literary selection be sure to support the claims you make by offering textual evidence and parenthetically citing it. The presentation of your own experiences should be demonstrated by specific examples.
Possible readings from which you may choose:
Iwata’s “Race Without Face.”
Wong’s “The Struggle to be on All-American Girl.”
Petrakis’ “Barba Nikos.”
Malcolm X “Hair.”
Staples’ “Night Walker.”
Mukherjee’s “Two Ways to Belong in America.”
Lim’s “Two Lives.”