“Who Will Light Incense When Mother’s Gone?”?

Your Process: Using one of the creative non-fiction essays we read in this unit, write an essay that demonstrates how and why that particular non-fiction text utilizes one or two of the literary themes discussed in Unit 2. What is the author saying about it? Why do you think he or she is saying it in this way? What surprises us about the text’s depiction of the theme? Also address how and why the fact that the text is non-fiction influences its impact relating to the theme. Literary Themes: Love (Platonic, Romantic, or Filial) Alienation/Otherness The American Dream/Nightmare The Quest for Identity/Coming of Age Conformity/Rebellion In addition to discussing at least one of these themes, feel free to also explore other noticed literary themes that are not included in Unit 2. Be sure to use specific examples, details, and quotes from the text (use the author’s name in parenthetical citation). Essays to Choose From: Gretel Ehrlich’s “About Men” Andrew Lam’s “Who Will Light Incense When Mother’s Gone?” Annie Dillard’s “Living Like Weasels” In order to start brainstorming for this essay, please see the following examples: Ehrlich and Conformity: The premise for Ehrlich’s “About Men” is that a real, successful cowboy is a careful balance between what we typically consider masculine, a silent observer, and feminine, a compassionate nurturer. How does the cowboy embody the theme of conformity and rebellion in Ehrlich’s “About Men”? Dillard and the American Dream: One main point in Dillard’s “Living Like Weasels” is that people, who are logical and live by choice, can learn from animals, who are illogical and live only by necessity. What choices are involved in attempting to live out the typical American Dream? How do those choices differ from living according to necessity? In other words, what is the difference between the lifestyles defined by the American Dream as opposed to those defined by minimalism? Lam and Identity: How is Lam’s education and career related to identity in “Who Will Light Incense When Mother’s Gone?”? Do Americans define others by their careers? What else contributes to identity in America and why? Based on this essay, what defines identity in Vietnam as opposed to identity in America? (Also a strong thesis is needed)

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