Definition Essay – “Identity”
In his poem “Theme From English B”, Langston Hughes defines himself. In her story, “Girl,” Jamaica Kincaid is defined by someone else.
Write a 3- to 4-page essay defining yourself in terms of ethnicity, gender, and occupation.
The following questions will help you organize and support your essay. You do not necessarily have to answer all questions. They should be used to inspire and guide your writing.
- How do you define “identity”?
- How do you define yourself?
- How do others define you?
- Thesis statement/plan of development: In terms of ethnicity, gender, and occupation, how would you define yourself?
For an introduction, you can lead off your essay with a question: “What is ‘identity’? Well, the American Heritage Dictionary defines it as ‘the set of characteristics by which an individual is recognizable….’”
A sample of a thesis statement/plan of development:
“Being a Japanese American male teacher, I do consider myself a cynical person.”
- Race = Japanese American
- Gender = male
- Occupation = teacher
- Adjective as Definition = cynical person
1st Supporting Paragraph/Ethnicity
- What is your family heritage and cultural background?
- What language did you speak growing up?
- Do you embrace your ethnic background?
- Have you ever come into conflict with cultural stereotypes? How did you react?
2nd Supporting Paragraph/Gender
- How are you identified, gender-wise?
- Because of the way people perceive of your gender, what is expected of you?
- Do these expectations put pressure on your actions/behaviors? Do you agree or conflict with these expectations?
3rd Supporting Paragraph/Occupation
- How are you defined by your job or occupation? (If you go to school, being a student is your occupation.)
- What do you do to maintain this job?
- How would you go about achieving your “dream job”?
- Restate how you are defined by these identifying factors. Which factor – ethnicity, gender, or occupation – best define you? Explain why.
- Are there any other identifying factors that define your identity, pertaining to a specific hobby or interest? Being a son/daughter/sister/brother/ parent/partner? Why are these factors important to who you are?
The essay must be typed and double spaced. On the upper left hand corner, you must type your name, “English 21”, “Section 0225”, and my name “Mark Nishimura”. It must also have a title, centered above the essay.
First draft due: Thursday, March 21
Final draft due: Tuesday, March 26