How Do History National Identity & Culture Interface Discussion Paper

How Do History National Identity & Culture Interface Discussion Paper

Let’s adjust our proverbial sails and take a different direction for a writing assignment. What if I give you a maximum instead of a minimum page limit? Yes, really. For this task, you have a two-page max to respond to the prompts included here!

Consider the following:

How do history, national identity, and culture interface?

The English Patient has been translated into 40 languages, has sold more than one million copies, and has been turned into an Oscar-winning film; in fact it received nine Oscars and was nominated for 12. In a sense, the plot transports the reader into a previous time and reveals that world’s connections to our own time. Thus, it is an exhilarating example of historical fiction, which traces the intersections of four damaged individuals in an Italian villa at the end of World War II while exploring the nuances of nationality, identity, and culture.

Historical fiction, like history, can present those of us in the 21st century with insight as we face current and future problems. Why read about the past? Why study history? Hopefully, by doing so, we can help prevent mistakes that were made in the past from being made again. History also teaches us tolerance both towards our enemies and towards those who are simply different from us; it also presents lessons on the importance of sustaining our ideals through difficult situations. Ultimately, history can help us forge a better world by providing historical incentives and examples to push us in a positive direction. Finally, exploring the past helps us to acknowledge our creation of history as we continue to create history, and thus need to take into account the fact that, someday, our descendants will study what we do today just as we do that of our ancestors.

This brief writing exercise should focus on one or more of the following essential questions:

  • How do history, national identity, and culture interface?
  • What lessons can we learn from history in order to move forward as a tolerant society comprised of diverse cultures and nationalities in an ever-changing more globalized world? Provide specific examples.
  • What lessons does Ondaatje present through his characters?

This is a short writing assignment, but should still include both a thesis statement and a Works Cited page (not included in the two-page max.).  Use the above prompts to develop a brief argument that responds to at least one of the questions posed. Cite all sources using MLA and provide a Works Cited page. The essay should be one to two pages, not including the Works Cited page, but it should also be a fully-developed, well-supported argument.