The Importance Of 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 will look to her husband and expect her to act a certain way and vice versa. As Edna discovers her own identity her husband feels the need to get help for her rather than letting her enjoy it. While this does drive her to madness she wishes for freedom as Chopin writes “But she knew a way to elude them” (cite). At this point, Chopin is pointing out that the only way for a woman to be is free is through suicide as it gives Edna the chance to escape marriage. Chopin uses this to point out that many women feel they have the identity of their husband rather than their
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