first draft

Sanjida Ridhe

Professor Jay Polish

First draft

May 1st, 2018

Was memory loss the most effect way to cope with trauma?

Memory loss is a tricky and frustrating situation which is caused by multiple factors. There are many specific cases where trauma is the reason behind your memory loss. According to research physical and emotional trauma can directly affect your memory. Sometimes the memory loss may be temporary but there are cases where it can become permanent regarding the type of trauma you went through such as a possible severe brain injury or psychological trauma. Luckily our character Nemasani, mother for “Anon”, her memory was not permanently impacted. Although she did use memory loss and forgetting her son and repeatedly telling herself and others that her son was dead to copy with losing him.

Anonymous is a thrilling and intense play written by Naomi Iizuka that tells the heartbreaking story of the separation between a mother and her son during the midst of horrible war occuring in the background. This play starts of anon telling his story and his journey to finding and reuniting with his mom only to realize that she has forgotten him and is in denial when he is pushing the truth on her which is that he was never dead only lost. The play does go back and forth between Anon’s life and Nemasani’s and her story is everything that happened to her after her dear son was “killed in the storm”. Nemasani is working in a sweatshop, always being bothered by her boss who has no boundaries and each time she is asked about her son, she repeatedly says he’s dead. This play is definitely one for the feels and the harshness of this story becomes obvious when Anon soon does find his mother and it’s heartbreaking where she refuses to believe he is who he says he is. She constantly told herself and others that she no longer had a son. She started to believe the truth. Her true recollection of the facts refused to kick in even after Anon constantly told her what she is saying is true.

What Nemasani has done here is a clear fact of her decision to cope with trauma with Denial. Denial is in fact a psychological defense. It is one of the many reactions to trauma. Denial can involve denying or rejecting the traumatic event happened, refusing or denying that it was traumatic and pretending to feel an emotion of certainness when you aren’t. It is said that “If you’re in denial, you’re trying to protect yourself by refusing to accept the truth about something that’s happening in your life”. (, lines 1-2). According to an article written by Mayo Clinic discussing denial and its effects, some symptoms of denial are (you) “won’t acknowledge a difficult situation, try not to face the facts of a problem, and downplay possible consequences of the issue”. On page 50, during the scene where Nemasani and Anon look at each other for the first time after Anon says in broken lines which in a full sentence would be “What if I told you…what If somehow…But what if- you have a son?” Nemasani is refusing to let him say what she is scared he might say. She replies with lines such as  “No. Don’t say it..please don’t”. And when Anon says “What if?” Nemani replies with “ I don’t believe in “what if”. “What if” will break your heart. After she hears that he says she has a son she immediately says “My son died. He died a long time ago. He was just a little boy and he died”. Anon is begging for her to listen and she apologizes and just simply says that she can’t. This is an example of how Nemasani fits 2 of the symptoms described above. She isn’t trying to acknowledge the truth of a difficult situation that she is speaking to the son that she thought she had lost. She also isn’t trying to face the facts of the problem. She only assumed he was dead. She never really found his body or reported what had happened to him. She was only left with having to cope with her loss and to starting a new life without him.

Nemasani dealt with trauma one way and Anon dealt with it another which was memory loss. Throughout the story, he does seem to be repeating the story of him and his mom multiple times but there are still some hazy facts here and there. He isn’t sure of most things but one thing he is of course sure of is that once he woke up from the wrath of the terrible storm and was taken in by an American family is that he knows this isn’t his real home. He also changes his name multiple times throughout the story going from “Anon, to nobody, to koori..etc”. One of his names was even “Monkey”. That’s cause to smirk! He doesn’t ever give his actual name. There was an important scene during this play that I’d like to focus on. He had trouble getting recollection of his memory but after talking to this girl Naja she helps him remember. On page 24, Naja is repeatedly asking “what do you remember?” When anon says “I don’t know where to begin. I dont know how. I dont know how to begin”. Naja replies with “Begin in the middle, on the border, on the crossing. Begin in the place in between”. Naja is trying to help him gather his thoughts and it works. He soon starts to remember his mother and how she used to hold him as a baby. Nemasani and Anon both had memory loss but in the sense where they pushed the trauma to the back of their mind and as for Anon his perseverance in finding his mother is what was helping him get through this and remember. According to research, “Memory loss is a natural survival skill and defense mechanism humans develop to protect themselves from psychological damage”. ( It is also said that “A person will often suppress memories of a traumatic event until they are ready to handle them, which may never occur”. Nemasani clearly has done this to get through the loss of her son.

1. Is my thesis good?

2. Am i using my research correctly and providing enough in my essay?

3. is the idea relevant enough or should i focus on another question?

4. do you have any recommendations on how i can connect my research to the story?

5. how is my format for the essay, is it all over the place or is topic placement correct

The experience of trauma during the migration process and its portrayal in Anon(ymous)

The different causes of migration by refugees, undocumented migrants and any vulnerable demographic.

Different methods of migration and their risks

Traumas experienced during migration

Structure of support upon arrival

The migration process and its consequences as portrayed in Anon(ymous)

Is it accurate? Does it define Anon? Why?

Does deterrence work as a strategy and does the US have a responsibility to the migrants and refugees before they arrive in the US? (Thesis here: it does not, and yes, the US has a responsibility to refugees and undocumented migrants).

Does being undocumented or having family members undocumented have an effect on a adolescent’s physiological health?

Does being undocumented or having family members undocumented have an effect on a adolescent’s physiological health?


In the recent decade many families have been torn apart. This is because the parents came to the united states illegally and therefore are sent back to their country of origin. Many adolescents are left here in america due to being American citizens. Often these adolescents are left in the care of foster homes, foster parents and orphanages. Although is truly sad as many never get another glimpse of their mom’s and dad’s face ever again. This has caused panic in families who have an undocumented family member. But this can be a problem for an adolescent whose brain is currently being developed depending on the age. This can have many physiological problems on a adolescent. These problems can be depression, stress, anxiety and so much more. Many of these symptoms can be reflected on Anon who got separated from his mom.

P1: First study on kids who got separated from their parents

P2: Second study on kids telling someone their parents are undocumented

P3: Long Term?



Does my question related to the play and is it good?

Is my thesis good enough?

Are my topics for my paragraphs relate to my question?


Latina/o Adolescents’ Family Undocumented-Status Disclosures Directed at School Counselors: A Latent Transition Analysis.


Immigration policy: Separating children from parents unnecessary and costly trauma.


Jaylin Pinguil           

Does Anon from the play Anon(ymous) suffer from dissociative amnesia resulting from his experience with war?

    War is an element that greatly affects individuals both physically and mentally. People who are often caught in the middle of war often face trauma as loved ones are lost in the crossfire, or families are separated as they try to escape looking for a safer home. In Anonymous we see how Anon is greatly affected by war especially after being separated from his mother. He copes by constantly referring to himself as someone else or as no one stating “ I changed my name, I became Anonymous, my name is Anonymous.” Part of his coping mechanisms refers to him becoming forgetful or repressing past memories. As they often stem from torment and experiences of the war. How he hears bombs dropping, smells the sweet and spicy odor of death or seeing bombs planted like flowers in the ground. Often leading him to block out information often as a result of these stressful or traumatic events.

Cited sources-

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.

Effect of War Upon the Minds of Children
Bert I. Beverly
Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1943 Jul; 33(7): 793–798.

  1. Does my research question make sense?
  2. Is my question to lengthy? Show I cut it down?
  3. As I continue writing should I dedicate a paragraph where I only talk about and explain what dissociative amnesia is? Should it include Anon’s mother?
  4. As this is the first paragraph is my research question and examples straightforward?
  5. Is the idea interesting?

Research Rough Draft

Q: How does a reserved person deal with traumatic memories or symptoms of PTSD?

Traumatic issues can happen to anyone, it is common, and you always need help going through it. Going through traumatic issues in life is always a difficult thing to go through on your own, and since some people do not always have the faith in them to talk to others about it, they can make it worse by bottling it up. Recovering from PTSD can have its steps, the most stressful one can be having flashbacks, “a sudden, vivid memory that makes you feel like you are experiencing your trauma all over again. It’s a physical feeling of being there, not just a normal memory where you are recalling what has happened.” (Deloe, Jami 2015). In the play, the main character anon experiences the same flashbacks, and describes his memories as if he were there as well; “where I come from there was a war that lasted so long. Where I come from bombs rained down from the sky night after night.” (Iizuka, Naomi pg.4) War can be a traumatic moment and have a big impact in anyone’s life, due to the stress, fear, and the loudness of it. Through his descriptions, we can see where anon comes from and see from his perspective. Psychologists even agree that “a sustained stressful experience that might involve multiple trauma types (e.g., experiences at war) are also vulnerable to memory distortion. In fact, traumatic memory distortion appears to follow a particular pattern: people tend to remember experiencing even more trauma than they actually did.” (Lents, Nathan H. 2016). Perhaps that is also why he has trouble accepting his real name to other strangers, his trust issues get to him and he is still haunted by his past.


Works Cited

Deloe, Jami. 2015. “How To Cope With Body Memories in PTSD Recovery.” Healthy Place.

Iizuka, Naomi. 2007. Anonymous. An Adaptation of The Odyssey.

Lents, Nathan H. 2016. “Trauma, PTSD, and Memory Distortion.” Psychology Today.



Are my sources for my research topic good? Or should I get more sources?

Does my research topic fit the assignment?

Is my rough draft well cited and organized so far?

Does society forces immigrant into becoming anonymous ?


Anon(Ymous), the play that left its audience with more questions than answers, the play that left me with unquenchable desire to know more; was written by Naomi Iizuka and was published in 2007. The author took us on a journey, where the protagonist of the story was introduce. A young refugee that goes by multiple names and each different name had their own unique stories to share and also their own nightmare to face. “Where I come from mines are planted in the roads like deadly flowers, and the air smells like death, rank and sticky sweet”1[2] (Iizuka, Anon, 2). Anon was a refugee who fled his home country due to an endless war, where being civilize held no apparent meaning. For safety purposes, Anon and his mother had decided to migrate somewhere safer but during their travel, they were separated in a storm. The play enfolds various controversial themes such as border crossings, wars, dehumanization, immigration, sexual harassment, and the endeavor to identify one’s identity in the midst of all the unstable chaotic shifts and forced dream sequences.

Truth be told, to be able to fully comprehend the meaning behind the play Anon(Ymous) and this research paper, I must first break down the author past life.  Naomi Iizuka was “born on April 22 ,1965”1[3] in Tokyo but grew up in Japan, Indonesia, The Netherlands and Washington D.C. With Iizuka’s mother being an American Latina and her father being Japanese, her life was very complicated as a teenager, she never completely fit anywhere due to her multicultural background. Nonetheless, Iizuka never let society held her from chasing her dreams and although her works often follow a non-linear storyline, majority of her plays are influenced by her multicultural background.




Work Cited Page


Iizuka, Naomi. Anon(Ymous): a Drama. Playscripts, 2007.


Naomi, Iizuka. Background- Age.   


1-  Do I have enough information within my rough draft to convince my reader?

2-  Am I on the right path with my research paper and Am I answering the question?

3-  Do you believe Anon(ymous) represent different characters within the play?

Research Draft

Research: how war causes memory loss to adolescent?


War can cause many problems to survivors such as psychological problems after witnessing the destruction of war. According to the article, “Researchers have found that war has a remarkable and miraculous effect” it has stated that, “more than half the population had fled their homes, and some 70,000 people had died.” When comparing this to the play “Anonymous” by Naomi Iizuka, the main character Anon has experienced the same situation. For example, in the play, the author states that, “where I come from there was a war that lasted so long. Where I come from bombs rained down from the sky night after night. The air smells like death” (Naomi Iizuka, p. 4).   Anon witnessed these entire incidents and made him affected and his mom and him tried to escape from their country. This shows that all these things impact an adolescent’s mind by keeping them in memory and hard to forget those entire things they went through in their life.  This entire incident affected him and led to memory loss. One of the psychological problems after witnessing the destruction of war is memory loss.  Word like who are you?, I don’t remember you, are some of the words mentioned by the memory loss people. Even Anon has mentioned some of these words like, “I don’t remember”, “I don’t know how to begin. I don’t know where to begin” (Naomi Iizuka, p.4). Another incident that really affected his mind is separation from his mother. For example, in the play, “the last time I was in the ocean, I almost drowned. I was with my mom. We were in an old fishing boat. We were trying to escape and there was a storm” (Naomi Iizuka p. 13). This is an example of fear of death, where they escape from the war to reach a safer place. According to the article from WebMD, “Memory Loss”, the author states that, “Being depressed can make it difficult to pay attention and focus, which can affect memory.” When relating depression to memory loss, the main character Anon also went through depression where he was looking for his mom. For example, in the play, all he remembered was his mom. “I’m really homesick. What if you want to go home, but there’s no more home to go home to? What if the one person you love more than anything, what if they don’t remember you? What if they don’t even know who you are?” (Naomi Iizuka p.14). This proves that, he’s scared that his mother would have forgotten him or he would never find his mother. All these questions were running through his mind and people like Calista were trying to discourage his aim on finding his mom.


Work cited

Guo, Jeff. “Researchers Have Found That War Has a Remarkable and Miraculous Effect.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 June 2016,

Iizuka, Naomi. Anon(Ymous): a Drama. Playscripts, 2010.

“Memory Loss.” WebMD, WebMD,


  1. Is my essay well organized?
  2. Do I have to be more specific and clear in analyzing the play?
  3. Is there anything that I need to focus on or include?



Assignment # 2 Guidelines

ENG 102: Writing Through Literature

T 8:00-9:00am, Th 8:00-10:15am, E265

Professor Jay Polish

Assignment # 2 — Research Essay Analyzing Anon(ymous)

We do research every day: when we hear a snippet of a new song by our favorite artist, we look it up; when we watch a TV show and recognize an actress but can’t tell from where, we google their character to figure out where we know them from; when we need to go somewhere we haven’t gone before, we google maps our way there (yeah, I used it as a verb).

Research — in its many forms — allows us to answer questions (and find new questions!) that itch, questions that ache, questions that we can’t quite get our minds around. As we read Anon(ymous), the play surely inspired a lot of questions in us. Some of these questions are going to be ripe for research: together, we will generate our own research questions that will guide our investigations. You will use your research to help you write a deep analysis of Anon(ymous) and the exigent issues it evokes. You will need to cite (in MLA format, which we will discuss in class) at least three sources (aside from Anon(ymous)), one of which must be a scholarly article published in an academic journal. Your essay must be at least 750 words long (5 pages double spaced).

Due Dates:

Tuesday, May 1st — Rough draft for Assignment 2 posted to the blog before class. Try to have as many of your thoughts/analysis expressed in your draft as possible. Include with your draft at least 5 specific questions that you would like your peer reviewer to answer, and cite at least 2 sources (aside from Anon(ymous)). Include your works cited list.

Thursday, May 3rd —  Post your peer review commentary and answers as a comment to two of your classmates’ Rough Draft posts before class.

Tuesday, May 8th — Post your most recent, edited and revised project to the blog before class. In addition, please include your 600 word reflective artist’s statement regarding what you learned, what you didn’t learn, how you can use what you learned in the future, the kind of research you did and how you think this helped you analyze the play, and how you think you could have pushed your analysis even further. What rhetorical choices did you make in your research paper and how did these choices advance your analysis? How did the process of peer review push your analysis forward? If it didn’t, why not? How can you and your partners conduct your peer reviews differently next time? What fresh rhetorical insights might you bring from this assignment into future assignments?


  1. I’d like to know more about Nemasani’s motivations and goals. If she assumes Anon is dead, is she trying to go back home? Finishing the shroud is not an option. I’d like to know more about her.
  2. I would also like to know if there’s a reason for all the connections between the characters. Some are necessary for the plot to move along, but some others (e.g. Strygal being Mr. Zyglo’s son) seem unnecesary to me.
  3. Has the author ever directed this play? I’m curious about the choices she would have made about putting this play together.

While reading this play, I squinted a couple times and I also tilted my head slightly to the left. I “hmmmed” and said “what?” a couple times too.

HW 4/19

3 questions: the events change up and down and the characters are always changing will the conclusion have all the answers? is anon confused? what is the story or main message the author is trying to portray and what the audience to understand? the main body gestures i had was shaking my head when there would be change of events. when anon is meeting his mother i was feeling intrigued and i guess you’d say one of my body gesture was mainly out of curiousity. i was on the edge of my seat waiting to figure out what would happen and the next lines he’d say. the only sounds i found myself mainly doing is probably saying huh? and that was because of confusion. the story kept changing and i was trying to figure out whether or not i liked these characters. i do admit that i sympathize anon so as he was trying to find home which i assume is the whole reason for this story i was just sucking in my teeth everytime he’d say his story or talk with his mother.