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
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....