Concept Of Identity Explored In ' When I Was Growing Up' By Nellie Wong

780 words - 3 pages

1. title- When I was growing up (poem)2. Composer- Nellie Wong3. Year- 19974. What does this text highlight about the concept of identity?This poem is about the narrator's own assimilation into the dominant white culture, and a need to become something she in fact isn't. It shows how society can influence your identity, because the narrator wishes to be white as it is the dominant culture and has 'privileges' with it. It shows how experiences and interactions with others and society can influence your identity. In this poem, the narrator lives in a society where she struggles to find her own voice and fit in a cultural majority. The persona in this poem could have represented society at the time, a shallow society persistent on looks, skin colour and beauty and not focused on the inner beauty of women.5. What is the connection that you can make with this text and your prescribed text?'When I was growing up' and 'Preludes' by T. S Eliot share a similar connection in terms of identity. The impact of society on the individual in 'When I Was Growing up' is similar to how society caused the people in Preludes to lose their identity. In 'Preludes', patterns of imagery appear throughout, especially in the first part, where people's lives are controlled by what goes on in the world around them. The images of decay and disintegration 'burnt out ends', 'grimy scraps', 'withered leaves' , 'broken blinds' expose a world that is falling apart. Due to the monotony and emptiness of their lives in a decaying world, there is no identity; there is no life in the poem. In this world there is a loss of personal identity and pressure for everyone to be the same and leading the same dull life.Similarly, in 'when I was growing up' the narrator's life is controlled by what is happening around her. In the poem, when Nellie was growing up, she was surrounded by ideas forced upon her by society that it was better to be fair, better to be white and not yellow 'I began to wear imaginary pale skin'. These ideas transformed her into possessing a view of her that denied her the ability to appreciate her own identity as an Asian person with yellow skin 'I felt ashamed of some...

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