Name Identity Personal Essay Assignment by 8Ti9QMoo


									                   Name/Identity Personal Essay Assignment, Honors English IV
                            (Comp./Rhetoric Section of Notebook)

                       Design Instructions for the Personal Essay on Your Name
Task: Write a personal essay in which you explore the story behind your name. Here are a few questions
to consider in the process of composing this piece:
     Tell the story of your name. Why did your parents name you what they did? What other names
        were they considering, and why did they abandon those and finally choose the one they gave you?
        How has your name affected your life, for good and/or bad? How has your name shaped your
        identity? Does your name link you to other people in your family or to other people (a celebrity or
        a friend, for example)? How so? If you could change your name, would you? Why or why not? Do
        you have any nicknames? If so, how did you acquire them? What, if anything, do they have to do
        with your birth name, with your identity? Is there a cultural significance to your name? In other
        words, is your name somehow part of your cultural/ethnological background? If so, how? How
        does that impact how you see yourself?
     Write out your full name, and then draw a picture (realistic or symbolic) of yourself. No Stick
        Figure. Even if you’re not artistic – and believe, Mr. Cox – is not, try to draw yourself, how you see
        yourself. If you want to use pictorial symbols (heart = love, for example), that’s okay.
     Interview your parents about the story behind your name and expand on your response.
     Check out the etymology of your name. What does it mean? What language or culture is it
        originally derived from? (If you’re unsure or want to refresh your memory, check out one or more
        of these websites: and
     How might your life have been different if your parents had given you another name? How might
        your life have been different if your parents had given you another name? Let’s say, for instance,
        how would your life be different if you had the name of a sibling or cousin of the same gender as
        you? And if you think it would not have had any effect on you, explain why.
     In what way or ways can you relate your own thoughts about your name to Cisnero’s character’s
        thoughts about her name or the “No Name Woman” of Kingston’s memoirs? How are these
        stories about the power of names?
                   (These are not the only questions to consider, simply a starting place).
                                          Helpful Readings
      Murray’s The Craft of Revision: 1-5; “Play with Images” and “Make Connections” 12-14; “Be
       Specific” 15-18; & “The Discovery Draft” (50-54)
      “My Name” from Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street (on blog site)
      Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” (on blog site)
      Maxine Hong Kingston’s “No Name Woman” in Literacies (pp. 323-344)
      Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Rule of Names” (handout online)
      Johnna Kaplan’s “Don’t Just Call Me Jane” (handout—available from Mr. Cox, but not online)

Although you are one possible audience (one is always on some level writing to herself or himself), you
should consider the other possible audiences: your family and friends, me (your instructor). On another
level, almost everyone can relate to your topic, as we all have names and probably experiences and feelings
about them. As a personal essay written with these audiences in mind, the language will be informal and
casual rather than formal. Such informality does not mean you should throw out all the good vocabulary
you acquired your junior year (with Mr. Assael or Ms. Granger or Ms. Peterson or Ms. Satterfield). Further,
you do not want the language so laced with idiom or colloquialism that most people outside of your peer
group would not understand it. While the use of first person is certainly expected (this is, after all, your
personal essay, I would avoid using second person (you, your, yours) in the non-dialogue sections of your
essay and use third person in its place. We’ll talk more on this issue as you revise and edit.
Well, now that’s part of what you have to figure out. Your purpose will be to share with your audience
what you discover about yourself and your relationship with your name as well as your understanding
of the nature of personal identity. The essay will certainly be expository because you will be explaining
that discovery as you figure it out yourself. Your essay certainly should have some strong narrative and
descriptive moments, for all good personal essays do. And to some extent – as almost every composition
is – this essay will make an argument, attempt to persuade its readers to believe something you have come
to understand or believe in the course of articulating what you have discovered about yourself and about
the nature of personal identity.

      Please use the Evaluation Rubric on the Personal Essay to guide you as revise and edit your draft.

      Please look at the sample student model for the following:
           o An idea of what I’m looking for – although this is not a finished draft, not a perfect essay,
               it will give you an idea of one possibility.
           o For the format for submission of your drafts: note that it is double-spaced, in 12-point
               New Times Roman font with one-inch margins at the top and bottom and to the left and

      Word-process earlier drafts if at all possible and make sure that the draft made ready for teacher
       evaluation is word-processed.
           o If you are handwriting any of the drafts, do so in black or blue ink (not pencil), and double-
               space by skipping every other line, thus allowing a partner/peer space to write comments.
           o All word-processed drafts, especially the final one, should be in black ink.

                      Editing (List of Possible Mechanics, Usage, Grammar)

              Problems in Parallelism & Logic
              Fragments and run-ons (Frag./R-O)
              Unclear and garbled sentences (UCS)
              Preponderance of Passive Voice (Pass) & General Wordiness
              Inconsistent (or illogical) use of tenses (T)
              Dialogue Punctuation/Format (DF)
                  o Dialogue formatted, punctuated properly.
                  o Shifts of action, location, speaker (in dialogue) marked by new paragraphs.
              Subject-Verb Agreement (S-V Agr.) and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (Pron. Ref.)
              Pronoun Case Misuse (Pron. Case)
              Nonstandard Word Forms (Verbs, Adverbs)
              Diction (Inappropriate Word Choice)
              Double Negatives
              Omitted Word (^)
              Capitalization (/ or = ) and Spelling (Sp)
              Commas (__ = add; X over comma = eliminate)
              Apostrophes
              Semicolons, Parentheses. Dashes, Hyphens, Colons
              Formatting Titles and Numbers: TF or NF

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