Feedback on an Essay I've Written What do you think of my essay - I'll post it below. What things should I do to it to improve? Are there any words that could be replaced? And is it all in present tense? Thank you for any help :)! _ Essay: The Search for Identity (A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove by James Moloney) Question: The search for identity is often not a solitary effort. Explain how Skip and Joy Duncan help Carl understand who he really is. _ Perhaps it is the insightful nature of humanity that allows us to understand our identity. In James Moloney’s novel A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove, Carl Matt’s journey for identity is influenced by the characters of Joy and Skip Duncan. Carl’s unique relationship with Joy allows him to develop an understanding of his values that he can contribute to the community. Similarly, Carl’s experiences with Skip develops him as a young adult, allowing him to realise his potential in the workforce and in life. Finally, Carl’s adoption into the Duncan family promotes and cultivates a sense of belonging within Carl, which in turn, assists in his understanding of himself. Our search for identity is influenced by our peers and family, which is illustrated by Carl’s experiences and relationships with Joy and Skip Duncan. Continued next post...

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"Shrewd" is certainly the incorrect word here, so simply eliminating it might solve the problem. However, I would suggest that the OP is focusing on the familial nature of society, that we as individuals still gather together in groups and so are able to feel both connected and unique. Perhaps a rewording of the sentence is in order? Something like:

Society naturally congregates people into groups, allowing the exploration of personal identity in safety.

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I have two concerns. One is that it seems a poor idea to post a whole essay on an unsecure public discussion board such as this. For that reason and since you have several good comments, I'm going to exercise some administrative authority and remove most of it.

The second is that I think you probably don't mean what you write in this line:

The shrewd nature of society allows us to explore our qualities that contribute to our identity.

The basic definition of shrewd refers to someone being astute and having keen powers of judgment. It escapes me how a shrewd--keenly evaluating--society can "allow" exploration of "qualities" and "identities." Generally shrewdness in an individual, more so in a collection of individuals, forces the suppression, to one degree or another, of "qualities" and "identities."

I'd suggest you reevaluate what you actually mean to say and determine a more effective word choice for saying it. For instance, do you actually mean to say that something about the nature of a particularly accepting society--one that sees the individual as the pinnacle of human expression--is nurturing and helps foster the development of the full expression of individual identity?

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As you look for tense, also be aware of subject-verb agreement. Make sure you know what the subject is and the verb goes with it. For instance, post 1: Similarly, Carl’s experiences with Skip develops him as a young adult. In this case, experiences is the subject, and it is plural. The phrase "with Skip" is a prepositional phrase and not the subject. So the sentence should read: Similarly, Carl’s experiences with Skip develop him as a young adult. I would add though, that "develop him as a young adult" is a little awkward. Maybe "develop him into a young adult" would be clearer?
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You asked us to look for tense issues. The paragraph featuring this line "he discovers his potential talents that he could provide to the community..." is not in present tense. Also, "his" in this sentence should probably be eliminated or replaced by "the".

"Carl’s relationship with Joy is a clear juxtaposition of a mother and son connection..." Does juxtaposition here mean parallel? This sentence should probably be fixed.

You've got a well formatted and clearly written essay here. I would suggest that you adjust your first sentence though. It's perhaps a bit too broad to be really meaningful. Looking at the rest of your essay, I know you can come up with something sharper which will carry the same idea more meaningfully.

For a second essay, this is really great stuff, despite these suggestions/corrections. Your point comes across clearly and that is the most important element of any essay.

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I must admit, I think you have done a good job with the introduction. It clearly outlines what you are going to do and it signposts how you intend to do it. This is something that every introduction needs to do. In addition, you provide a nice little "hook" to begin your essay with. This is a good introduction.

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