Definition Essay on the Term Identity

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English Composition II
October 27, 2012
Definition Essay
The term “identity” as the English dictionary defines it is “the individual characteristics by which a person or thing is recognized,” however, the dictionary fails to truly capture the word’s meaning. Generally the development of an individual’s identity goes on during his/her childhood, puberty and in most situations it ends at adulthood. Identity is quite difficult to define because it is such an abstract concept. In order to define such a word, it is better to describe factors that are more directly involved with the meaning of a person’s identity. There are specific and important factors such as: social class, culture, family and society. In essays such as, “Some Lessons from the Assembly Line” by Andrew Braaksma, “On Teens & Tattoos” by Andres Martin and “Stuff is not Salvation” by Anna Quindlen each tell stories of identity. The authors, if asked, could define identity as a number of external factors that under given circumstances would shape a person’s character and identity. The authors imply in their essays the meaning of both the word identity and the concept of individual. These answers are rather abstruse and hidden between the words of the writers; nevertheless there is a clear similarity between the authors’ implied opinions about the meaning of the word identity. “Some Lessons from the Assembly Line” talks about Mr. Braaksma’s life during his junior year of college and compares his work in the assembly line in contrast with his life on a college campus. An important part of the author’s identity is redefined during his time in college. Mr. Braaksma gets out of his comfort zone and enters new surroundings, when he starts working in the assembly line and realizes how different social classes are. Just as he said in his essay, “My experiences will stay with me long after I head back to school and spend my wages on books and beer. The things that factory work has taught me –how lucky I...
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