Identity In Son And Solomon's Son By Andrew Solomon

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In the reading “Son” by Andrew Solomon, horizontal and vertical identities are compared and dissected through the lenses of society’s perceptions. A vertical identity is when “attributes and values are passed down from parent to child not only through DNA, but also through shared cultural norms”, while a horizontal identity is when “someone has an inherent or acquired trait that is foreign to his or her parents” (370). Solomon being a gay, dyslexic man brought up as an anti-Jew Jew, has well delved into the controversy of the ethics between what is considered an illness versus what is accepted as an identity. In the reading “Son”, Solomon narrates his struggle with identity from his early ages to present, and shows the development of his ethical views on the “taboo” horizontal identities that most of society negates. He first describes his experience with Deaf culture as…show more content…
Brought up as an anti-Jew Jewish man, Solomon was quite confused as to why and how society never questioned that part of his identity and never found anything adverse about it. How was it not weird that a Jewish man did not like Jews? He realized the key difference between the identities was that although many “vertical identities make people feel uncomfortable, … we do not attempt to homogenize them” (371). In society, no matter if a vertical identity is considered comfortable or not, it is a built in part of a person that does not warrant any criticism since it is passed down. However, since being gay or deaf or dwarf, etc. (horizontal identities) are not passed down, this leads to society’s derogative perceptions of those identities…because if these are not obtained through parents and cultural norms they must have been a choice, right? Of course not! However, this ignorant conclusion is why there is a taboo on any identity that is considered

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