Individual Identity And Self-Sacrifice In American Literature

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Early writers of American literature tackled many subjects as a way to represent the United States of America. Some of the subjects include individual identity and self-sacrifice which is demonstrated by the authors Kate Chopin and James Weldon Johnson. Additionally, the lack of individual identity and self-sacrifice leads to Americans never truly becoming a free nation. By showing how the lack of individual identity can affect people, Chopin and Johnson suggest that no race will ever truly be free until everyone has their own individual identity. Firstly, the lack of individual identity is evidenced when Chopin writes “Edna held out her hand, and taking the ring, slipped it upon her finger” (cite) she is describing one-way Edna does not have an individual identity, but rather the identity of her husband. From this point the reader will know that Edna has the identity of her husband rather than her own. People…show more content…
In the novel the character has his own sense of individual identity but quickly loses it when he is told he is something he feels he is not. When Johnson states “…I would change my name, raise a mustache, and let the world take me for what it would…” (cite) he is stating that for him to be free and have is own identity he must change who he is and how he is seen as a man. Johnson says this because he has realized that if he is viewed as a black man, he will be grouped with black men. As for self-sacrifice when Johnson says, “I feel that I am led by the same impulse which forces the unfound -out criminal to take somebody into his confidence, although he knows that the act is liable, even almost certain, to lead to his undoing” (cite). Even thought the novel is fictional, Johnson understands that this novel could very well bring his career to an end. He is demonstrating self-sacrifice by putting out there the difference between the black and white
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