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Literary works comment on society and the ways in which the social world constructs identities based on concepts such as gender, race, religion, culture, economic or social class, and regional aspects, to name a few. Sometimes authors comment on their own experiences with identity, and sometimes authors use the subject of identity construction to underscore and reveal the ways in which society creates identities and perceives identity in general.

In this task, you will be asked to read a literary work or an excerpt of a literary work and to analyze the ways in which the author portrays a character’s identity.


A.  Choose one of the following works of literature:

•  Novels:

 Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

– Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

•  Poems:

– Ninfa Miranda-Maloney (sometimes called Maria Miranda-Maloney), “American Me”

– Deborah Boe, “Factory Work”

•  Short Stories:

– Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Birthmark”

– Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

•  Plays:

– William Shakespeare, As You Like It

– George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion

B.  Analyze (suggested length of 1 paragraph) how the author incorporates racial, ethnic, gender, religious, economic or social class, and/or regional aspects in the chosen work to develop a specific character’s identity.

C.  Discuss (suggested length of 2 paragraphs) an experience in your home, work, social, or school life where you encountered identity issues similar to those encountered by the character in the literary work you are analyzing.

D.  When you use sources, include all in-text citations and references in APA format..

Note: When bulleted points are present in the task prompt, the level of detail or support called for in the rubric refers to those bulleted points.

Note: For definitions of terms commonly used in the rubric, see the Rubric Terms web link included in the Evaluation Procedures section.

Note: When using sources to support ideas and elements in a paper or project, the submission MUST include APA formatted in-text citations with a corresponding reference list for any direct quotes or paraphrasing. It is not necessary to list sources that were consulted if they have not been quoted or paraphrased in the text of the paper or project.

Note: No more than a combined total of 30% of a submission can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. For tips on using APA style, please refer to the APA Handout web link included in the General Instructions section.

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