Fresh Voices: Composition at Cal Poly

Article Title

My Mr. 50s


In her essay “My Mr. 50s,” author Jaclyn Burt uses vivid descriptions to explore how a favorite accessory helped shape her identity. Do any of these descriptions stand out to you? If so, why? How does Burt’s use of language bring the relationship between objects and the construction of the self to life for the reader?

Although the author is writing about her glasses, do more universal themes emerge? She discusses the way the glasses helped create an identity for her, but says, “ultimately you’re the one that changes you.” What do you think she means by this? As you read, pay attention to how the role of Burt’s glasses evolves as the essay progresses. What claim is she making about identity and objects? Who is she addressing? As a reader, how does the author’s use of second person perspective influence the purpose of the piece? Try to identify Burt’s audience: Her peers? Teachers? Others? How does the writer’s perspective change the way the audience receives a message?