Personal Identity And Identity

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What is identity? Often, people confuse identity with personality. While personality describes your personal qualities such as being shy or outgoing, identity involves a combination of different aspects. Culture, language, family, friends, and society are a few of the aspects that helps shape a person's identity. For a person to feel identified, they must share similarities or differences with others. Sharing personality traits is effortless, but identity requires active engagement. Identity also involves a combination of how you see yourself and how others see you. How others see you can be influenced by economic, social, and physical constraints. These constraints cause a tension between how much control you have in constructing your own…show more content…
How we see ourselves and how others see us differ in many ways, but is an important factor of our identity. “A Lesson Before Dying”, “Fences”, “This is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona”, and “Everyday Use” are all works of literature where there is a tension between how the characters see themselves and how others see them. In “A Lesson Before Dying”, Grant’s self-view collides with how he is seen by others in his community. Grant has gone to a University and is now a teacher in the quarter where he grew up and is constantly being admired for it. Most of the admiration comes from Miss Emma in hopes that Grant can transform Jefferson into a man before he is executed. Miss Emma states, “I want the teacher visit my boy. I want the teacher make him know he’s not a hog, he’s a man” (pg. 20-21). Continually referring to Grant as “the…show more content…
Feeling ashamed of her African culture and family, Dee wishes that her mother and sister look different and that her home would be elegant. Mama always knew how Dee felt about her, “My daughter would want me to be a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barley pancake. But that is a mistake” (par. 6). Dee’s judgmental nature has affected her mother’s self-view. Moreover, Dee returns from college to visit her family but with a different attitude. Dee portrays herself as a confident and exceeding person, however, her mother sees her as arrogant and insensitive. In attempts to reconnect with her African roots, Dee has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. Mama is cognizant that Dee’s intentions are not genuine and sees it as a rejection of her heritage. Worrying more about taking pictures of her surrounding, Dee neglects to spend time with her family. Mama notices that Dee, “Lines up picture after picture of me sitting there in front of the house with Maggie cowering behind me. She never takes a shot without making sure the house is included” (par. 22). Mama becomes aware that Dee’s has only come to collect items to take back home instead of honoring and embracing her roots. Before leaving to college Dee’s mother had given her a quilt to take with her, but Dee was too embarrassed by it to take it. Now, Dee has asked her mother for it so that she

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