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Synthesis Definition Assignment

English 1013 – Synthesis Definition Assignment


Write a clear, thoughtful, and well-

developed synthesis essay (1000 words minimum),

using at least three of

the five sources listed below

to explain your definition of “personal

identity” by showing how it is formed or influenced by heredity, family,

friends, community, work, roles, or other choices and experiences in life.

Choose 3-5 categories of things which you think are the most important

factors in shaping identity, and give examples from the sources. Your

definition may be partly based on your own experience,

but should be

mostly based on the examples from the sources

. This is a Definition

essay, and you must synthesize (put together) your definition from the

different sources.

Begin your essay with a


definition of the concept – not a dictionary

definition, but a personal definition of what identity means to you. How

has your family and upbringing influenced your sense of who you are?

What have been the positive or negative influences? Which factors do

you think have been most important? How would you explain your own

sense of


Then look at what the sources have to say about the influences various

factors can have on a person. How well does your definition apply to the

experience of others? In the essays that you have read for this

assignment (the sources listed below), how did the authors conform to,

rebel against, or in some other way respond to the expectations and

values of their family, friends, community, etc.? To what degree are we

individuals of our own making, and to what degree are we products of

our environment? Use examples from the essays to support your

definition, and explain what you think is the significance of this concept.


Cite examples and use quotes from

at least three

of the

following sources to support and help explain your definition of

“personal identity:

Abramyan, Alen. “In the Middle of Nowhere Fighting Adversity,”

Successful College Composition,

92-94 Crowther, Kathryn, et.

al. editors (2016). (student essay in SCC textbook)

Brady, Judy. “I Want a Wife.” Literature for Composition, Third

Edition. Editors: Sylvan Barnet, et. al. HarperCollins Customs

Books, 775-776, 1993. (link in the module)

Cisneros, Sandra. “Only Daughter.”,


Latina: Women’s Voices From the Borderlands.

Edited by

Lillian Castillo-Speed. New York: Touchstone/Simon &

Schuster, 1995. (link in the module)

Shteyngart, Gary. “Sixty-Nine Cents.”

The New


, 3 Sept. 2007.

(link in the module)

Tannen, Deborah. “My Mother Speaks Through Me.”


New York Times, 19 Sep. 2017. (link in the module)





, Ch. 3.5, on writing a Definition

Essay, 105-111. Also read


, Ch. 4 on “Writing a Research Paper,”

especially sections 4.6 – 4.9 (166-195). Since I am assigning the topic

and the sources for you to use, sections 4.1-4.5 are not as relevant, but

may also provide useful tips.

For rules and guidelines on using sources, read carefully


, 4.7,

“Incorporating Source Material Into Your Body Paragraphs,” 175-179,

and 4.8, “Documenting Your Source Material,” 179-184. Note that you

must include in-text citations

as described in these sections, and a



list of the sources you use, as they are listed above.


Your essay should be comprised of an introduction with

a brief definition of the concept and your thesis, body paragraphs (with

clear topic sentences) giving examples in each category you have chosen