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What is Identity? (Essay Sample)


This paper explored the notion of identity in academic writing by focusing on the first person pronoun.

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What is Identity?
I was born in China, a country that is far from where I currently reside. Before I moved to America, I had not mastered the English language, since I had spent quite a good amount of my youthful life speaking Chinese. I used to speak minimal English as it was rear to hear people from my native country speak it. When I finally had the privilege to relocate to America, everything seemed to be new. This entire experience was both exciting as well as chilling, since the new environment presented a different scenario from what I was used to. Right from the start of my stay in America, I had to struggle really hard, especially in school, to understand English. However, as time went on, everything seemed to get easier and easier. My hardworking enabled me to write my first High School academic paper without a lot of struggle. Everything was straightforward with the help of minor directions from my teacher. Writing anything without the words, “I”, “me”, or “my”, would be like "erasing identity from writing”. It can be truly egalitarian and would allow anyone to succeed regardless of “…gender, race, or social class"(Williams 32). This was one of the reasons as to why I was somewhat successful in my secondary English class. But now, I finally have the chance to express myself in my own writing.
What is identity? There exist quite a number of definitions for this word. One of the most known definitions is that, which refers to identity as the reality of an individual or something as it is seen by many. Nonetheless, for the past few years, I have not heard of the word identity. Will I be able to find my own identity in my academic paper for the first time? I want to make a change as well as enlighten other people on the essence of identifying your true self. I also intend to make other people to understand that by discovering their true self, they will be in a much better position to achieve their life desires. Bronwyn T. William’s, “The importance of identity in academic writing”, people enlightened on the essence of identity and that it has always been present in academic papers as well as other writings. Without identity, most of these writings will not help anyone to, "…march triumphantly through the writing assignments of one class after another".
This paper aims to explore the notion of identity in academic writing by focusing on the first person pronoun. The main idea is to advise writers to put their own identity in their papers so that their message can be understood easily. Academic writings ought to be objective. I will explain the importance of identity in academic writing through quotes from authorities and my personal experiences.
According to academic writings proponents, many teachers and writers that eliminate identity in writing may be very successful. According to various scholars, “Literacy entails cultural constructions that are situated in specific contexts and are shaped by forces existing in an institution”.†Even Williams T. Bronwyn stated in one of his articles that, "As teachers, then, we should help students understand that grammar is not a rigid set of rules but a set of conventions that connect identities and status to language use" (Williams 61). Therefore, it is†necessary for teachers to inform students about the importance of identity in academic writing. Academic writing would be useless, if such information is not conveyed, since it targets self-representation of an individual. To bring in identity in academic writing, it is essential for an individual to use first person pronoun such as the word "I". However, this does not happen often except in situations when students get authority from their teachers to use first person. According to the recent writing research, it is clear that emphasis has been on the fact that disciplines have varying views with regard to the knowledge and the level of education the teachers present to the students. Therefore, academic writing is not all about faceless papers as most people view it, but it is also about the different writing styles between the different writers. These differences are clear in expressions, and arguments. This difference marks the identity of a writer.
The use of first person in writing varies depending on the academic paper itself. For instance, in science writings most of the writers do not use the first person pronoun. Nonetheless, the identity of a writer is very common in fields such as social sciences and humanities (Williams 75). In William’s work, the use of first person to bring the identity is common. This is because his writing is about the need for writer's identity to be exposed and understood by the readers. In most cases, writers use their identity to enable readers to understand their themes. Therefore, an academic writing is influential depending on the choice of the language and writing style employed by the writer.
During my High School days, I was forced to write about basically anything without the word "I" in it. Surely, the paper was easy though it felt different, because I wrote my own experiences and everything I wrote had something to do with my thoughts. It was hard for me not to express my own identity in the paper itself, because everything was connected to me. A story or an essay written by me has my own identity. Therefore, I was not able to express myself in those papers. But now, I finally have the privilege to write with my own identity. I am also in the quest of assisting others to identify their true self. To do this, I carried out a survey in order to obtain the people`s opinion on this matter. The survey is presented below:
Have you used the word “I” in any of your academic papers If Yes, why did you use “I” in your academic papers If No, why did you not use “I” in your academic papers No n/a Pointless No n/a Teacher told us not to use first person No n/a Pointless Yes It was an opinion paper n/a Yes By accident n/a No n/a Why would I use the word “I” No n/a Pointless Yes It was my paper, that is why I used the word “I” n/a Yes I felt like it n/a No n/a I can get an A Yes It was an opinion paper n/a Yes Why not? n/a 
According to my survey, only 50% of the students have used the word "I" in some sort of academic papers they have written. However, only 50% of the students used the first person pronoun for their own academic success. The other 50% of the students, who did not use the first person pronoun in any sort of their academic papers, did not have any intention of using it in their writing. When I asked them why they did not employ the first person pronoun to fuse their sentences, it emerged that they either found it to be pointless or bothering since they were, already, successful i...
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