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.

The Odyssey

In The Odyssey, Homer defines a person’s identity through linage and deeds. Odysseus introduces himself as Laertes’ son. This shows the importance of family and were you come from. This also shows that your actions don’t just affect you; they also affect your family. But identity is best defined by deeds. When Penelope address the suitors she says, “When you were boys, did your own fathers tell you nothing of what Odysseus was for them? In word and act impeccable, disinterested toward all the realm-though it is king’s justice to hold one man abhorred and love another; no man alive could say Odysseus wronged him” (Fitzgerald 73). This quote from Penelope shows that Odysseus was remembered as a great man and a good leader by the things he did. His actions are part of his identity just as his family is part of his identity.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Question

What defines a person’s identity?

At some point or another everyone has questioned their identity. During our teenage years or in times of trials we find that one questions who they really are even more. As I fill out many college applications I wonder who am I? This brings about other questions like how do we say who someone is, what do we base someone’s identity on? We are not alone in our struggle to define who we are for even the great Hamlet tries to answer the question of identity in his situation. Hamlet is just one of the characters who can help us answer the question of who we are as a human being. This year I will be looking into great literature to answer the question, What defines a person’s identity.