Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beloved Identity

In Toni Morrisons Beloved, identity is defined by the past, memories and other people. Sethes's idetity is defined by all three. She is a mother, but only because she has children. Withouth them she wouldnt be a mom, and therefore her children actually have control of that aspect of her identity. However, her past has an even greather impact over who she is. Sethe is ultimatley comsumed by her past, and is defined by her life as a slave, rather then the free woman she is. For example Beloved, who represents Sethes past, seems to be sucking the life out of her at the end of the book, she no onger has control over her actions or who she is, and beloved/her past takes the reins. Paul D is another charecter who is defined by his past. His identity is also that of an ex slave, and there is nothing he can do to erase that pasrt of his identity, yet he has more control over his identity then Sethe, as he puses the past behind him. Beloved herself, as a charecter who maynot be exactly human, has an identity purly driven by the meomories of others. She is defined by the lives of others an feeds of stories of the past. Her identity may just be an illusion. Toni Morrison makes a point to tell readers that thier past is stronger then believed, that it actually defines thier identities.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Stranger

Identity and finding identity plays a bit of a diffrent role in The Stranger. Muersault doesn't necessarily struggle to find his identity, but rather the importance of having an identity or a life. Because his charecter is such a hollow man, identity doesnt really mean much to him, as an identity is linked to the emotion and personality of someone. However, the outward identity of people create a spark of intrest in Muersault. I think that he finds so much intrest in others identity so he can shape his own.
The whole book expresses the notion that humans are living in a endless quest for meaning. Prehaps this meaning is thier identity, and we cant have meaning in our lives unless we give it to ourselves. Unlike the previous books this year, The Stranger gives the idea that only we can give ourselves identity and purpose.
However, the preface to The Stranger sheds a diffrent prespective on identity in the book. Muersault doesn't lie and always says what he is thinking. Prehaps he is more intune with his identity then anyone else because he is secure enough to always say what he wants and even rather die then go back on what he feels. Unless people tell the whole truth, they arn't being true to themselves and therefor arn't being true to thier identity. Or maybe the human identity is lying....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Raskolnikov Who?

Raskolnikov struggles through the entire book to find his identity. Is he a crimminal? Is he a superior human being? Is he a man of God? Not only does he not know who he is, his friends and family have no ide who he is. His identity is amolt entierly up to the reader. At the beginning he is a mentally ill man whi is struggling with skisofrenia (so it seems). At times he is a giving, caring man and at times he is a reclusive, angry man. However at the end of the book, he finds himself through God, or begins to. Prehaps Dostoevsky is making a statment about identity and God. Everyone finds themself with God, and you will always be who he intended you to ultimatley identity isn't up to the individual after all.

Henry IV

Identity plays a huge role in Henery IV. King Henry himself, is not actually king. Prince Hal, hides his "true identity" as a royal from everyone till the time is right. This however is ironic, as Prince Hal isnt actually a prince because his father stole the crown, so his true identity isn't ever royal. Everyone in this play is trying to assume some identity that isn't rightfully thiers. Hot Spur is trying to be king, Falstaff is trying to be in the royal court along with various other Pub Crawlers. But as the book comes to a close, most of these attempts at un-rightfull identies fail. It's almost as if Shakespear is saying you are what you are and you cant truley be anyone else. Along with the idea in Oedipus Rex, cuses, mayhem or just bad luck comes when one tampers with thier place and identity in society. Even when Hal does become King, his identity is still that of a lowley Pub Crawler becase his charecter isn't honest. Don't messy with who you really are, or hide your identity form others, for you will always bee seen in the same light.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who are you Oedipus?

Oedipus, in Oedipus Rex, has absolutely no control over his identity. Through the whole story, he thinks he is one person, a son of Corinth, when really he is a cursed prince of Thebes. Oedipus's identity was in the hands of fate, something he could not change. Even when he does persist on finding the truth and is enlightend, he cannot be himself. Oedipus is a strong leader, a man who cares for the well being of others, however, when he learns the truth he becomes a scorned man, ashamed of what he did not know. Oedipus isn't the only one whos unknown identiy got the best of them. Jocasta, Oedipus's wife/mom, tried to mess whith her identity by making it so she was no longer the mother of a cursed child. Fate caught up to her, and punished her with her with her life, for even thinking she could control who she was. Prehaps the moral of identity in this story, is that you can't control it. and if you try you will be cursed. Identiy is an outside opinion, something someone bestows upon you. It is not you opinion of yourself, or who you think you are.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


The identity of Humbert in Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" is in the hands of the reader. Though he doesn't view himself as a pedophile, the reader sees him as a disgusting carecter who takes advantage of younger girls. He has no control over his identity because of the controversial acts he commits. He, in a way, is stating that one is identified by thier actions and not by who they are as people.
Lolita's identity is also not necessarily in her hands. As she is a child and still growing, she is a much more malleable charecter. Humbert practically treats her as clay, as he bends her to his will. She is therefore not seen in the same light as Humbert. Identity, in this stoy is almost a case of nature v. nurture. By nature Humbert an awful man and therfore is seen in such way. However, Lolita was raised in such a dissagrable fashion, and by nurture she is not an innocent little girl. Her charecters identity is not, however, that of a whore. As she grows up, she does indeed have more power to choose how to be and who she is. Is age a factor in how much control one has over thier identity?

The Odyssey

Identity plays a large role in Homers epic poem The Odyssey. Through out the poem there are many cahnges in identity physically and few changes in indentity emotionaly and mentally. Odysseus has and identity of bravery and often revered as and epic hero. However, how much control did he actually have in aclaiming that identity. Odysseus is often portrayed as a prideful man who finds it hard to humbel himself till later in the story. Is his identity bestowed upon him due to his nobel acts or because he claimed himself to be a "hero"?

Homer also illustrates other aspects of human identity, shaped by individual actions so they may be recognized by the outside world. Home almost presents Odysseus in two ways, first by his internal identity as ruler and king, son of Laertes and father of Telemachos. Secon, Homer presents Odysseus through his journey and how his journey shaped him. neither of these, however, are directly controlled by Odysseus himself. His identity is almost fully controlled by oustside sources i.e Gods, events and birth rights.