The main character Zits in the novel “Flight” by Sherman Alexie, struggles with where he belongs in the world. He is trapped in a system of greed and trapped within himself by confusion and anger. Zits, as he calls himself, begins to have several jumps into other characters, where he is a part of the body and mind of these characters at different times in history. Each character that Zits inhabits lead him through a journey of life lessons and to his expansion of perspective and ideology. The most significant jumps are into the bodies of the little Indian boy, Jimmy the pilot, and his father. These jumps force Zits to develop his present ideas about revenge, violence, and forgiveness.
The interactions a person encounters are an essential part in the formation of identity. In Peter Skrzynecki’s poem, Feliks Skrzynecki, a linguistic barrier between the father and son is present due to persona, Peter’s lack of cultural identity. The poem examines the relationship with his father explores how he has a constantly changing identity as he encounters his surroundings. Similarly, in Postcard, the persona’s identity is altered through the interactions he has with the environment around him. Using his poems, the poet attempts to establish that one’s identity is shaped from the difficulties they go through.
If one could revisit any moment in their life and change the decision they made, would their identity be any different? Could their identity, the values and beliefs they hold, be altered or erased by one drastic event? One novel, which explores the development of identity is Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo. Galloway explores identity through the three main characters of the novel; Alisa, Kenan, and Dragan, conveying a clear lesson about hope through the experiences of the three. Though the conflicts from the siege cause them all to deviate from their personalities before the siege, they all eventually revert to their original personalities, regaining their identities.
Despite the negative stereotype of American Indians, the objections and disapproval of fellow Natives, and the criticism of others, Sherman Alexie went on to become a successful writer that has inspired many. Alexie overcame many obstacles that would have deterred him from his goal, but he was able to remain steadfast and continue on in his pursuit of writing. As a result, he has published many literary works that include several short stories, poems, and a variety of novels. He allows his culture to seep into his writing, and continues to inspire young American Indians who also desire the path of knowledge.
The first time one is able to comprehend the meaning of a word is a momentous childhood moment that is forever engraved in one’s memory. Books and reading are significantly impactful to people’s lives; Mark Twain said that, “books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” This statement is apropo for Sherman Alexie, who was a Native American living on a reservation during the time he learned to read. Sherman Alexie convinces his audience that an education is crucial to being successful by using personal anecdotes to captivate and create a connection with his audience and repetition to reiterate the importance of having an education.
Throughout literature the constant theme of identity has been explored, with Northrop Frye even suggesting “the story of the loss and regaining of identity is, I think, the framework for all literature.” For characters, true identity isn’t always apparent, it needs to be searched for. Sometimes the inner struggle for identity stems from ones need for belonging. Whether one finds their sense of identity within friends, family, or in a physical “home”. It’s not always a place that defines identity. For example, The Locket by Ernest Buckler explores the ideas of where one may find true identity. In this short story the protagonist’s sense of identity comes from the emotional belonging to the idea of a home rather than the actual belonging to a physical building. Through the analysis of David and the grandmother, as well as the importance of
Throughout Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut intertwines reality and fiction to provide the reader with an anti-war book in a more abstract form. To achieve this abstraction, Kurt Vonnegut utilizes descriptive images, character archetypes, and various themes within the novel. By doing so, he created a unique form of literature that causes the reader to separate reality from falsehood in both their world, and in the world within Vonnegut’s mind.
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.
It’s been said to never judge a book by its cover, for the first impression does not show all the layers of the story. This is especially true for character Koyla in David Benioff’s novel, City of Thieves. On the surface, Koyla appears to be a fearless, comedic, womanizer who is careless and on the verge of being annoying. This becomes a conflict for readers who want to see a character with humanity in a stressful time during WWII. However, Koyla becomes a central figure in helping Lev come to age and venture outside of his boundaries, later becoming his best friend. As the story progresses, the reader sees a different side to Koyla: trustworthy and caring. Very different from the original narcissist character. Throughout the novel, Kolya’s
In the novel Z for Zachariah by Robert C’ O'Brien there are two main characters introduced into the storyline. These two developments in this story are in a vast contrast to each other. One of these characters is a sixteen year old girl named Ann Burden, and the other a scientist known as Loomis. These two start off as allies in this battle against the elements but difference in personality breaks them apart. While Ann is seen as a fine representation of all that is good about the humane race, Loomis is in opposing position representing all that is wrong with our kind. Ann, and Loomis each have individual characteristics that make this theory true, and in many ways it highlights important traits that
No matter one’s career choice, family life, ethnicity, or culture, finding and owning one’s personal identity is a persistent struggle that can last an entire lifetime. One is surrounded by media and messages feigning “the perfect life” which begin to consume one’s thoughts with “what if’s” or “if only’s”. Lucy Grealy struggles with defining her self-image in her autobiography, Autobiography of a Face. Throughout Grealy’s accounts of her battle with cancer, bullies, and her self-esteem, readers get a raw, painful, yet incredibly relatable look into the elements that can contribute to self-image. In writing Autobiography of a Face, Grealy leaves readers with a chilling lesson: only readers themselves, not peers or the media or society, can choose how to define their lives. One must choose wisely and continually combat the world’s messages because self-image can set the stage for one’s entire life.
Flight, a novel by Sherman Alexie, is a novel depicting a young boy, who calls himself Zits, that struggles finding an identity to call his own. He has been an outcast most of his life, moving from one foster home to another. Zits constant change in environment has left him dull and deep down inside yearning for a father, a family, an identity. Sherman Alexie demonstrates Zits’ identity crises by emphasizing the characteristics and qualities of his ideal identity. Zits strongly believes his identity should contain traces of his Native American background as well as the pieces of himself he has left at each foster home.
Everyone questions and struggles with their identity at some point in their lives, but this struggle is most heightened during adolescence. In Zadie Smith’s White Teeth conflicts with one’s race, socioeconomic class, and other social identifiers are shown through the lens of multiple generations. The novel’s cyclical timeline allows the reader to see the root cause of the issues the teenagers face, . Smith shows how one’s family and their history shapes the following generations through the similarity between father and son in the Iqbal family, the dark history within the Bowden family, and the forced ideology in the Chalfen family.