Identity exercise

Task one:

Reread your blog post for your creative product proposal. Spend a few more minutes working on it. Did you get any new ideas by discussing it with your peers? Did you choose a specific scene to work on? Anything you’re confused about or having difficulty with? What do you think about your proposal? Happy with it? Excited about the project? Scared?

Spend a few minutes adding to what you have. If you have no new ideas, freewrite or brainstorm.

Task two: Memoir

Ham on Rye is very much a novel about a person creating his identity on the page. This is a creative exercise where you will attempt to do that.

It’s an autobiographical novel as well, which means it’s loosely based on the author’s life. In this exercise, you’ll also attempt to write about yourself.

Here is a prompt. Write about this.

  • Your first memory.

In the time allotted, write about this event. It should be in the first person (Use “I.”). Use as much sensory imagery as possible (describe things that you can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell).

Task three: Identity

Now, rewrite what you wrote in task two. This time, make yourself sound heroic. It should still be as true to life as possible. But, you want to make yourself sound like the most awesome person in the world. How will you describe things differently? How will you perceive things differently? How will you describe yourself and your relationship to the world differently? Don’t think about this too much, just give it a shot.

It should be in the first person (Use “I.”). Use as much sensory imagery as possible (describe things that you can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell).

Task four: More identity

Rewrite what you wrote in task two. This time, make yourself sound as pathetic as possible. You’re a loser, and you know it. Make yourself sound like the most unworthy person in the world. How will you describe things differently? How will you perceive things differently? How will you describe yourself and your relationship to the world differently? Don’t think about this too much, just give it a shot.

It should be in the first person (Use “I.”). Use as much sensory imagery as possible (describe things that you can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell).

Task Five: Henry’s Identity

In Ham on Rye, Henry’s identity is fluid, meaning it’s developing and may appear different in different situations. This is because Henry, the character, is growing up. It’s also because Charles Bukowski, the writer, is trying to re-create himself on paper. It’s a process of creation and discovery.

How does Henry present himself in this novel? As a hero? As a pathetic person? Bit of both? Something else?

Choose a passage from anything you’ve read so far. A paragraph or a few sentences. Find something that you think demonstrates some aspect of Henry’s identity. Cite the passage here, and then write a few sentences that dissects how Henry feels about himself in this passage. How would you describe his personality here? How do you think he would describe it?

Find as many passages where Henry describes his own identity as you can in the time allotted.

 

  • Homework for next class: Read at least until page 142 of Ham on Rye. There’s no reading response. 
  • Creative Product is due Nov. 21

 

 

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