Blind Identity, Short Story Essay Jasper Place, English Essay

1258 words - 6 pages

Blind Identity
Often times individuals find themselves struggling to accept their identity when it does not fit into societal norms/conventions. This dilemma can occur when a source proactively pressures and convinces he/she to believe who they are is not who they are supposed to be. This forces the individual to abandon their original identity and delusionally maintain a false one. Generally, an individual’s society s a culprit guilty for causing feelings of shame, doubt and rejection of their identity. In the Glass Roses by Alden Nowlan, the idea of denying one’s individuality is portrayed by the main character Stephan. Stephen's father and society constantly pressure him to uphold an expectation of leading the lifestyle of their ideal man, this forces him to fear any instinct that reject his society's conventions. His main focus of not disappointing his father causes persistent internal conflict during any urges to be himself, and makes him decide between his identity versus who he is taught to be.
Initially, Stephan recognized he is the weakest member at the camp physically and mentally, this results in hardship during his efforts to be the ideal man his society advocates to be. He is quite familiar with the obstacles his smaller body type causes him from succeeding with most of his labour in the wood. It is revealed that at age fifteen, Stephan lives and works with older men as woodsmen. Contrary to the other men at camp, only he woke “The Polack”, another weak member of the crew, out of concern that he was having a nightmare. This shows that Stephan is compassionate: “Stephan raised himself on an elbow and shook his shoulder. ‘Guess you was having a nightmare’. (Nowlan, page one)” In Stephan’s father’s eyes a weak-bodied compassionate individual is not a man; instead more of a child. This resulted in Stephan continuously disappointing his father : “The boy winced remembering the too-familiar squint of doubt the hard knots of disappointment above the cold grey eyes. (page two)” This causes most of Stephan’s insecurities towards himself and motivation to prove his father that he is in fact a man. Stephan believes the only way to do so is to reject any thoughts or actions his father would believe to be feminine, or weak. However, once he began interacting with The Polack it became increasingly difficult to withstand his urges, because by nature he is attracted to their tales. He especially enjoys the stories of the glass roses, perhaps because they are symbolic of the beauty in fragility which is something he cannot accept in himself: “But he felt that his interest in such stories was childish...that we was expected to scorn now that he was becoming a man. (page three)” Although Stephan is compelled to these stories he convinces himself to reject his interest because, “we” meaning men in his society, look down on them. Therefore, rather than embracing his individuality, he feels pressured to reject any interests that don't fit into his...

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