Wesley Yang’s essay collection, The Souls of Yellow Folk (Norton, 2018), takes inspiration from W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1903 book, The Souls of Black Folk, which addresses the experience of double consciousness: a divided identity split between the consciousness of how one views oneself and how one is viewed by others. A number of Yang’s essays examine his role as a writer within “the peculiar burden of nonrecognition, of invisibility, that is the condition of being an Asian American man,” and circle around the frustration and isolation of attempting to reconcile or unify public opinion with one’s inner life. In your own nonfiction, have you struggled with representing yourself honestly while being conscious of how your readers might view you? Write an essay about striking a balance between writing truthfully about your interior self and considering the pressures of others’ perceptions.
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