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Snow Falling on Cedars Essay

Throughout this year, the reoccurring theme we are exploring is identity. Snow Falling on Cedars is a novel with numerous characters struggling to understand who they are and what they believe in.

For this essay, you will explore the identity development of ONE of the three main characters – Kabuo, Ishmael, and Hatsue – and what impacts their identity development. By the end of your essay, you should have a clear explanation of who your chosen character is.

Some questions to consider when writing this essay:

  1. What has impacted the development of his/her identity? (provide specific examples to support your claims)
  2. How has his/her development progressed from the past into the present (or the beginning to the end of the novel)?
  3. What is your final summary of who your character is? (conclusion)

Your essay MUST include the following parts:

Title: Must be creative!

Introduction: Must catch the reader’s attention
• Discuss the topic of identity (general)
• Include a thesis statement that summarizes the main ideas of your paragraphs (specific to the novel)
• ALWAYS mention the author and title of the novel in your introduction!!
Body: Must be at least three paragraphs.
• Discuss chosen character and how this character’s identity has developed.
• What has impacted the development of your character’s identity (culture, family, life experiences, etc.) (see “identity” worksheet for assistance)
• Include a quotation for each example. (Total of three quotations in essay)
Conclusion: Must restate the thesis statement and make final statements about identity and who your character is by the conclusion of the novel.

Citations: Cite your quotations correctly within the paragraph, directly after the quotation.
(Author’s last name / page number). For example: (Guterson 20).


• MLA format
• 1 inch margins, size 12 font, double spaced
• Paper must be written entirely in 3rd person (NO 1st or 2nd person!!)
• A thesis statement
• Your paper must include 3 well-chosen quotations that support your thesis statement
• Each quotation must be cited correctly
• Include a Works Cited Entry at the end of the essay.

Grading: This paper will count for 60 points in your 2nd quarter average.
DUE DATE: Friday, November 30th – there will be a 10 point deduction per each day late

*You must print out your Final Essay prior to coming to class. I will not accept it via email.

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