Breaking Identity Barriers

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Breaking the Barriers What is identity? How are identities formed? How much control does one have in molding their identity? Identity is the impression that one exhibits to the world. Principally, identity distinguishes a person by their qualities, beliefs, history and etc. Throughout an individual’s life, he/she focuses on developing an idiosyncratic set of values in order to develop a suitable sense of identity. There are countless factors that contribute towards the formation of one’s character. Generally, identity formation is shaped by the factor society which includes media, friends, family, and one’s surroundings. However, due to the complexity of the identity concept, people do not realize how some factors like society can alternate…show more content…
The border is symbolic since it demonstrates how individuals are forced to conform to one of the two nationalities. Though Laetita is neither American nor Canadian, she follows social norms related to nationalities in order to cross the border and therefore conceals her true identity as Blackfoot. This is evident as she is able to move across the boundary without any restrictions unlike her mother who at the border is persistent in claiming her identity to be Blackfoot and refuses to recognize herself as either American or Canadian. Therefore, adherence to societal norms and strict protocol allow Laetitia to fit into mainstream society, but results in her not embracing her true identity and diminishing her pride in culture. This is significant as it presents how society plays a massive role in constructing one’s values which can outweigh personal values and therefore lead to disintegration of cultural identity. Similar to “Borders”, Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” presents the struggle of representing one’s identity though the symbolism of handicaps. Through use of devices known as handicaps, people in the dystopian society are made equal. The handicaps recedes everyone’s personal strengths and qualities to…show more content…
In “Borders” the mother demonstrates defiance as she refuses to follow the terms of the society. In order to pass the Canadian-American border, it is required to declare your citizenship, whether American or Canadian. However, when the mother is asked about her citizenship, she repeatedly and adamantly states, “Blackfoot” (King 137). Despite the irritation of the authority figures and the possible threat of imprisonment and confinement, she neither acknowledges herself as Canadian or American. Her stubbornness and pride in culture therefore restricts her from crossing the border to Canada and the United States of America as she continues to stand her ground and express her identity as Blackfoot. This is evident as she does not conform to the restrictions of the society by remaining in the neutral grounds between the United States and Canada. Primarily, her defiant actions represent her conflicts with societal rules and norms in relation to nationality and identity which are significant as they deal with society urging her to concede with one of the nationalities that she is not. Aside from “Borders”, in the story “Harrison Bergeron”, the protagonist demonstrates resistance to society as he chooses to express his identity. Harrison stages a rebellion against the Handicapper General, which is evident through his defiant actions:
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