Wednesday, February 23, 2011


In Toni Morrison’s Beloved the character’s identity is defined by ownership. “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another” (111-112). Sethe was a slave and had trouble adjusting to being free, like most slaves. She claimed herself once she was finally reunited with her children after escaping from “Sweet Home”. When she killed Beloved to protect her in an attempt to protect her children from the men without skin Sethe lost her freedom. This act trapped her and controlled her. She lost all ownership as seen by the ghost that haunts 124 and its residents. It is not until the end when Beloved finally leaves and Paul D comes back and says to Sethe, “You your best thing, Sethe. You are” (322), that she is freed. Sethe couldn’t be who she was without freeing herself and claiming ownership of herself and really have an identity until she accepted the past and moved on to look for the future.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Stranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus is a story about a man “who does not weep at his mother’s funeral and runs the risk of being sentenced to death.” Meursault lives in a society where he is seen as an outcast for not showing the “expected” emotions to situations in life. He doesn’t cry at the funeral for his mother, and even goes to the beach the day after with a woman. Marie the woman who Meursault appears to be seeing even asks him if he loves her and replies it doesn’t really matter. Society is not okay with the lack of emotions Meursault shows even if he is only being honest. Meursault is put on trial for killing an Arab, which really turns into a trial about the kind of person Meursault is, one who doesn’t cry at his mother’s own funeral. Meursault makes the comment about the priest and his beliefs, while he was being questioned by the priest.  Meursault thinks to himself, “That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless.”  Meursault knows that one’s identity should not be based on the emotions and actions of a person, but should be based on their beliefs. When one has strong beliefs then there actions and emotions in life’s situations usually follow suit. Meursault didn’t have strong beliefs; you could easily tell this from all the times he said it really didn’t matter, so it would make since that he wouldn’t show emotions. One’s identity is defined by one’s beliefs and without them we find we are meaningless.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Henry IV Part I

Identity in this play is defined by where one comes from and ultimately where one ends up. Prince Hal started out as an individual who wasn’t fulfilling his potential. In the end in the final battle he rises to fulfill his calling. He turns out to be an amazing person. One’s identity isn’t starting out perfect and staying that way it is the growth that make one who they are. Unlike Prince Hal, Hotspur starts out as being the perfect “son” and then slowly fades to be a poor leader for the rebels. His digression in contrast with Prince Hal progression shows the importance that change in a person’s character makes on his identity.

Crime and Punishment

In Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky shows that a person’s identity is defined by himself. One’s identity is not defined by society and who society thinks they are, but by who the person says he is. Raskolnikov doesn’t see his crime as being a crime. Society does see that he committed a crime and so Raskolnikov confesses because he failed to prove his theory and reason for committing the crime. He needed to make peace with himself and with society.  He still seems to hold himself as a great person despite what he did. Sonia is also the same way she doesn’t let society give her an identity. She knows that what she is doing is sacrificing herself for the better of her family and that she is not a sinner, because of the things she must summit herself to do. Identity like all things comes down to how one perceives it. If one says they are who they are and can justify it then they are who they are.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oedipus Rex

In Oedipus Rex, it would appear that a person’s identity is defined by fate because the prophecies were correct. But in reality it’s based on Oedipus’ reaction to a difficult situation. Even though he knew finding out who killed the king could give him great sorrow Oedipus persisted to find the truth. In his persistence to find the truth he shows a great amount of integrity because he did what was right even though it caused him great pain. He could have easily stopped the investigation of the death of the king but decided to continue with it for the good of his people. Oedipus’s actions in the difficult situation show that your identity is more about what you do with the cards you're dealt then the cards themselves.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

East of Eden

In John Steinbeck’s East of Eden a person’s identity is defined by good and evil. The narrator makes this statement: “All novels, all poetry, are built on the never ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue is immortal” (Steinbeck 413). The narrator is saying that we are defined by which ever side wins the battle, good or evil. But he is also saying that good can out last evil; good doesn’t have to start over like evil does. What makes us good or evil depends on our actions and the motives behind our actions. Sam Hamilton always had good intentions for what he did he was loved by everyone and his family. Cathy on the other hand did many things to deceive and hurt people she was evil and people always thought there was something different about her.