Formal Essay on The Latehomecomer
Due in class on Monday, October 17
Three to Five Pages, Printed Out and Stapled
In this paper you will tie your story together with Yang's story. You should already be thinking about the Telling Your Story assignment for this class, and the idea is for you to better understand your own story by comparing and contrasting your experiences with Yang's experiences. In this assignment do not attempt to tell your story as a whole—you will do this in the Telling Your Story assignment. Although your story and Yang's story are both unique, you probably share similar experiences—for instance, you might be able to relate to Yang's descriptions of learning a language, the birth of a baby sister or brother, moving to a new school, her experience of having a death in the family, or her experience with having a serious illness. In this essay focus on an experience you share with Yang.
However, your cultural heritages are probably significantly different from Yang's. Early in your paper define what you mean by “culture” and “cultural heritage.” Within the body of your paper you should give concrete illustrations with objects/images, practices, words, and/or beliefs of both your cultural heritage and Yang's Hmong heritage. Include page number citations in parentheses (MLA style) when you make statements about Yang and her Hmong heritage.
Remember, though, that cultures cross and are shared. Like languages, cultures are always changing. In The Latehomecomer there are many examples of Yang and members of her family drawing on Hmong values, beliefs and traditions in order to survive and make a place for themselves in an often indifferent and hostile society. You should tell a similar story based on understandings you share—that is, culture—with people from your own background.
Finally, remember that this is a formal, academic essay and that you are writing for an academic audience. Here are things I will pay attention to as I read your paper: