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ENGL 100 English Language Analysis


One of the embedded Critical Thinking outcomes for is to “Demonstrate competence in analysis by breaking subject matter into components and identifying their interrelations to ascertain the defining features of the work and their contributions to the whole.” Drawing on the idea from Cultural Studies that identity is a construction and an identity, you will write an essay that analyzes a character in the memoir Secrets We Kept.


Choose 1 of the main characters (Arya, Dharmendra, Kristal, Rebecca, Shiva) from the book of Secrets We Kept by Krystal Sital and analyze the construction and/or trajectory of their identity.

Construction: How does the character create their sense of who they are? How is their identity the product of the things they have gone through?
Trajectory: What changes happen to the character over the course of the book? What power does the character have to shape the direction of their life?

Your essay should follow the traditional essay pattern of introduction-body-conclusion.

1. Introduction: Introduce the book and the character. End with a thesis that states your your overall interpretation of the construction and/or trajectory of the character.
2. Body Paragraphs: Write focused and developed body paragraphs that quote the story and develop the parts of your thesis
a. For construction paragraphs, use pairs of quotes that show what happens to the character and how they incorporate that into their identity.
b. For your trajectory paragraphs, use pairs of quotes that show two points that define part of their trajectory.
3. Remember: good paragraphs pass the BASIC test:
a. Because: This paragraph is in this essay because it addresses part of the prompt or assignment.
b. Argument: This paragraph clearly states its argument in a topic sentence
c. Source: This paragraph uses and cites sources
I think...: This paragraph includes the writer’s ideas and interpretations Connected: All the parts of this paragraph are connected to each other; this paragraph is connected to other paragraphs and the thesis
4. Conclusion: Briefly restate the main point of your essay, then connect the character to your own life: what similarities do you see? What differences? How do you understand your identity and trajectory in ways you did not before?

5. Given how in depth you want to go in this part of the essay, you can extend your conclusion into two paragraphs.

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