Why and how is this the case? Could a whole life be “a lie”?
Essay Two: Connecting
Conversations: Dissembling and Identity
What is the purpose
of this assignment?
This purpose of this assignment is to
engage the narratives of two individuals, Richard Wright and Jose Antonio
Vargas, whose lives relate to the theme of “dissembling and identity.” We might
call such a comparison a “conversation” of ideas.
What will I be
both “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” by Jose Antonio Vargas, and “The
Library Card” by Richard Wright, individuals choose a path of dissembling as a
way to cope with the great strains of social exclusion, prejudice, and lack of
opportunity. For both Vargas and Wright, there are gains and losses to their
strategies of dissembling.
will compare the stories of these individuals from a psychological,
philosophical, or historical perspective, as you analyze conditions and
constraints, motives, short-term gains, and larger long-term impacts.
What kind of
structure can I use for the essay?
Introduction: Think of “dissembling and identity.” Can
“identity” ever be purely “honest” or “true”? Rather, aren’t all identities “dissembled” to
some extent? Why and how is this the case? Could a whole life be “a lie”?
Ask some questions, use a quote
from Brainyquote, if you like, or present a scenario in your introduction to
get us all thinking.
two to three paragraphs (no more than this) in which you
discuss the situations of Wright and Vargas. Make as many
connections and comparisons as you can. Keep this part of your paper organized.
I will be looking for thoughtful topic sentences, well-integrated quotes (the
best are short “flow quotes” integrated into your own sentences), and
interesting connections and insights. Try to refer back to the
philosophical-psychological view you mention in your introduction/ thesis.
a paragraph or two that deals with identity dilemmas in general. Some topics you
could research might be identity formation, self-presentation, keeping secrets,
racism and emotional trauma. In other words, reach out to research for topics
that shed light on Wright, Vargas, and people in similar circumstances.
(Perhaps you would like to research the story of another individual that you
heard about.) The context of segregation and bias against immigrants would be
relevant research as well. Refer to sources such as PsychologyToday.com,
SimplyPsychology.com, Verywellmind.com, or current news and history
sources. Your research should prove some
statement(s) you made in your introduction/ thesis.