Sunday, August 29, 2010

Identity in The Help

How exactly are our identities shaped and formed?

"Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?" 

Isn't this the truth. We are constantly told who we are supposed to be by our friends, our family, and the media. In The Help, the question of identity comes up with every flip of the page and Katheryn Stockett makes it clear that she believes that no matter what we are told we are, we have a choice in who we are. In the book, the main character Skeeter goes against the southern tradition of racism to stand up for what she believes. This action gives her depth that the other white characters lack because they follow. 

 "All my life I'd been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine's thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe."

I believe that we should take this lesson to heart, and realize that we can be who we want to be, not what our community expects or tells us to be. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Identity, where does it come from?

We are all unique, that is what makes life so interesting. In today's society there are many things out there that can affect who we become and change who we are. So my question becomes how exactly are our identities shaped and formed? Could it be through the people that love us? Or the people that don't? Or maybe through outside sources such as our community and government? Or maybe due to a higher power, something bigger than you and I?

In Homer's, The Odyssey, Telemakhos appears a little lost and confused, a follower. His dad has been lost at sea and townsmen have taken over his home in hopes of marrying his mother, who is so distraught she provides no guidance to her son. I believe that this proves that without the presence (physically or mentally) of a strong parental figure it is challenging for a person to develop a strong individual identity. As the book progresses and Telemakhos learns more and more about his father, he begins to develop as a character and finds the power and responsibility he must obtain to kick the suitors out. But even yet he struggles to demonstrate his personality because he is often over shadowed by his father, lost as to who he is and who he should be. I believe this is due to the time he spent apart from a strong parental figure. While he lacked the guidance of a parent, he did have a community that could have influenced him in the wrong direction. This did not happen though. Instead he stuck to good morals and tried to protect his mother and home. I think this shows us that people do have an innate identity inside of themselves that no one can completely change or influence. What I don't know is how this identity is inside of us, whether it is through a person's genes or as I am inclined to believe, due to a higher power. While Homer and I may disagree about who this higher power is, it remains clear that something bigger than human kind is at work when deciding parts of our identity.