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Culture and Identity Discussed

This essay will use critical analysis. After reading the literary works attached, consider the following question: How does literature about culture and identity add to our present day society? Consider what this literature adds to society, why the authors felt compelled to create it, and what this means on both an individual level and a larger community-wide level.

Requirements for this essay are:
1. You must draw upon the texts we have read in class.
2. You must have a thesis, a title, a Works Cited page, and an effective introduction and conclusion.

Attachments

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As we are not to write student essays for them, I will merely write some notes about these four pieces. You can then use this material to help you understand their meaning and put together your own essay.

Please see the attached Word document for my comments.

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Borderlands
What is the author's purpose for writing Borderlands? First, we should learn something about the author. She was a chicana, lesbian, feminist author. Clearly, she didn't fit into society, and as a result, she writes Borderlands, in part, to describe her isolationism and her frustration. She is the one caught in the crossfire between camps. She is the one who has bits and pieces of different cultures inside her. She is the one who feels betrayed by all of her ancestral peoples. She feels like her voice has been stolen by the wind. She has words to speak. She wishes that others would hear her feminist, lesbian voice, but society-as-a-whole isn't that interested in hearing her voice. Can you see the connection? Again, this sheds light on her words about being a forerunner of a new race, "both woman and man, neither - a new gender." Yes, from a very realistic sense, the new gender refers to her homosexual beliefs and practices.
To her, living in the borderlands (being caught between cultures) is difficult, very difficult. She must resist the temptations to commit suicide. She must continue on. And yet, in the end, she finds solace in a certain thought. She finds pride in knowing that she is different, that she doesn't fit in.
In the end, she realizes that she must be a crossroads. What does that mean to her? It means that she sees herself as a bridge between cultures, as a road to be travelled upon, as a life to be emulated. She sees herself as a road to be followed, as a saviour for society.

I Have a Dream
The interesting thing about this piece is that it wasn't written to be an essay per se, but rather a speech. So, we have a different type of literature here with King's speech. What are the thoughts it conveys? Why was it written and spoken? What sentiments did it intend to stir up?
Again, the cultural diversity lies within American society. In this case, it's not about feminists, lesbians, and chicanas, but between blacks and whites - the historical struggle within American society. The author wrote the piece to inspire change. He wanted the whites to join his cause and he wanted the blacks to elevate themselves to a higher purpose. He wanted them to carry on ...

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