Identity and Family Heritage Essay



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English 9 September 2016

Mr. Klein


Identity and Family Heritage Essay
As we begin the year and begin our focus on identity, this paper will allow you to reflect on the impact of history, specifically your family history and heritage, on your identity.
What is this assignment about?
Analyze how your family heritage has affected your identity.
Heritage: “the things, values, traditions, and knowledge passed down by parents and ancestors.”
This reflection will build on discussions and writing about identity in English class and maybe on your study of world cultures and religions in World History as well.
What is the purpose of this assignment?
The objectives of this assignment are to:

  • Deepen your awareness of your family culture and history and its impact on your identity;

  • Strengthen your skills in writing a reflective essay.


What exactly am I supposed to do for this assignment?
1) Think, reflect

  • Think about your own identity, particularly your personality, your interests, and your values. What are the sources of those aspects of your identity? Can some of them be traced to your family: its history, culture, and heritage?


2) Gather information about your family’s history. Talk with one or more

older members of your family.

  • Where did your ancestors come from? How did your family come to this country?

  • How have national or global events affected you and/or your family? What were the historical or cultural events that caused you to become a resident of Arlington (and maybe of other places too)?

  • What are the values and traditions that you have inherited from your parents and extended family? Can you trace them back to your family’s specific history and identity, perhaps prior to your family’s arrival in the United States?

  • Has a particular religious heritage been influential on your family’s values and traditions, and on your identity?


3) Shape your information and thoughts into a one-page essay

  • We expect that you will see that at least some of the family history and heritage that you have gathered information about has had an impact on WHO YOU ARE.

  • Your essay should present information about your family history, culture, and heritage AND about you and your identity. The key to a successful essay is to find a connection between the two. It is essential that you write about how the history and heritage you describe has had an impact on your identity.

  • As much as possible, use specific, concrete details and examples rather than abstract generalizations about your family heritage and about your identity.

  • You can, of course, use “I” in this paper.


When is this paper due?

The completed essay will be turned in to Mr. Klein.



  • Mr. Klein’s 1st period English 9 students: Due on Monday, September 19

  • Mr. Klein’s 6th period English 9 students: Due on Tuesday, September 20

Your paper should be typewritten, one to two pages long, double-spaced. Times New Roman 12 pt. font.


How will this assignment be graded?

1. Content: Paper is a thoughtful and detailed 30 points

reflection on your identity and its

cultural and family sources. It both

presents information on your family

heritage and history and connects that

heritage to its influence on your identity.

2. Form: Paper is clearly and effectively organized 10 points

3. Mechanics: Paper is typed, approximately one to 10 points

two pages, free or nearly free of errors in



standard written English.

TOTAL 50 points


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