The Importance Of Identity In Literature

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Identity is one of prominent issues to be discussed in literary works. In most cases, the characters in literary works have some conflicts regarding their identity. The word identity itself derived from the Latin word “idem” which means same. Anderson (as cited in Sriratana, 2008) says that identity gives a sense of similarity or sameness. He explains the reason of taking photographs as one of important documentary devices for human being because they notify people about their own identity. It gives a picture that the child in one’s childhood photograph is the same as the person he/she is today. However, Sriratana (2008) suggests that identity can also mean difference. She mentions that people will likely to define themselves by ‘othering’ themselves: labeling what people are not. The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (2017) defines identity as the set of personal characteristics in which an individual is known as a member of a group. Based on Hamilton (2016) explanation, identity is the collective aspect of characteristics which make a thing recognizable. It is in line with () who says that identity refers to a state of mind where the characters acknowledge their traits which, in the end, lead them to find out who they truly are. From these excerptions, it can be said that identity is the way someone defines him/herself as being. It is a set of qualities that makes someone or a group of people different one to another. In addition, Simon (2004, as cited in Spencer, 2006)
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