Fall 2017

Essay 2: Memory and Identity

Now that we had a name, some of the fragmented pieces began to fall together—who we were, what we were, how we had evolved. We began to get glimpses of what we might eventually become.—Gloria Anzaldúa.

Jimmie both was and wasn’t aware of this deep, tragic loss in himself, loss of himself. (If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.)—Oliver Sacks

Your final essay will be on the topic of memory and identity. In your essay, I’d like you to integrate passages from the course readings and (as much as possible) to imitate the style of (some of) the authors: Sacks(The Lost Mariner), Kingston(No Name Woman), Baldwin(Notes of a Native Son), Lethem(13,1977.21), Rose(I just wanna be average), Anzaldúa(How to tame a wild tougue). You may also consider the film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as a text to be read alongside the essays and include dialogue from the film in your analysis. Finally, before submitting your final draft, I’d like you to add notes in the margins explaining why you made some of the choices you did.

Here are the major elements I will be looking for:

Development of Ideas: Your essay thoughtfully builds on the points you raise in your introduction, adding nuance and structure to your argument throughout the body paragraphs and conclusion.

Integration of Course Material: Your essay addresses three or more of the course readings in a meaningful way, and your response to the authors is carefully considered. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind counts as a reading for satisfying this criterion.

Style & Annotation: Your writing has benefitted from a close study of the style of the authors. And, the annotations you provide help guide your reader (me) in understanding how your essay is organized and why you made the choices you did. You might think of this part as The Making of Essay 1. You are the director taking your audience “behind the scenes” and revealing how the magic works. As you annotate your essay, try to be as explicit and as detailed as possible in explaining why you made the choices you did and how these choices fit with the overarching plan for your essay. And, as much as possible, draw on your annotation bank for inspiration.

Your final draft should be 5-6 pages in length, double-spaced, 12 point font, with one-inch margins and MLA formatted citations.

Important Dates:

Dec. 5 Hard-copy draft due at the beginning of class for peer exchange

Dec. 7 Peer review day

Dec. 15 Submit final draft electronically (with annotations) on Canvas by midnight


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