AP Essay prompt: Fault Lines Analysis
When the average person looks upon their past, they usually recall memories and facts that categorize them into a predefined group of people. Seldom can a person not find some sense of belonging in their lives, whether it be belonging to a culture, to a nation, or to a religion. The idea of not fitting in to any social group is a surreal one to say the least. Even so, that seems to be the tragic case brought to light by Meena Alexander in her 1993 autobiography entitled, Fault Lines. In this autobiography, Alexander uses a unique style of language that includes excellent diction and tone, among other rhetorical devices, to delve into her scattered and uncertain identity.
After reading the selected passage from Alexander's autobiography, it's hard to come away from it without a feeling of how much Alexander belittles herself in her work. Throughout the text Alexander uses many questions concerning her identity to show her lack of conviction as to who she really is. The angle from which she poses these questions tends to conjure an image of a person who has a low self-esteem. She seems so torn by her inability to define herself by her past that she gives off a general vibe of hopelessness. Though it is obviously only an exaggeration of her sorrow, she paints a picture in the reader's mind of her having a deformed face. To her, not being able to piece together her identity makes her less of a person, so much in fact that she at one point thinks that she can define herself with a dictionary. As if any group of words, let alone a single definition, can adequately represent a human being. By setting such a negative tone in the passage, Alexander really invites the reader to sympathize with her. As the reader does this, they get closer to Alexander's heart, thus allowing the reader to not only think about her problems, but to actually feel them too.