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What Makes Up Our Identity? Essay

1754 words - 8 pages

What defines us? What makes up our identity? May it be religion, nationalism, ethnicity, mode of livelihood, or gender/family; we all have traits that identify us. For some, identity may be good, or for others, bad. Amy Tan uses Ethnicity, Gender/ Family, and Religion to describe how she feels about identity. Mary Matsuda Gruenewald also Utilizes Ethnicity, Gender/Family, and Religion express her feelings for Identity.

Lila Abu-Lughod believed that Identities are not natural, permanent, or fixed. Although people feel that they are, she also thinks that you have many identities. Identity is always defined through difference from something else. Mode of Livelihood identifies use because for impoverished folk, their goal is to just get daily nourishment, but as for an affluent individual, they may be concerned about getting access to an exclusive club. As for religion, if you are Jewish, you would celebrate Hanukkah, although if you are Christian, you would celebrate Christmas. During a world wide sporting event such as the Olympics, your national identity would identify you as America, Russian, Chinese, etc. In Algerian and Muslim countries, women would need to conceal their identities because women did not have the same freedom as men. Your ethnicity depends on your cultural background such as Chinese, Caucasian, or African- American. We all consist of certain traits or characteristics that create our Identities.

Amy Tan shows her interpretation of Identity by showing the differences between cultures in a short, sweet, and heartwarming short story. This story is interesting because it is a clear comparison between the American and Chinese traditions/cultural beliefs. Imagine sitting at a table on Christmas Eve, ecstatic with the energizing feel of the holiday spirit while waiting for dinner, which of course is all your favorite food, but you do not care about the food because you feel so embarrassed. “Dinner threw me deeper into despair. My relatives licked the ends of their chopsticks and reached across the table, dipping them into the dozen or so plates of food. Robert and his family waited patiently for platters to be passed to them. My relatives murmured with pleasure when my mother brought out the whole steamed fish. Robert grimaced. Then my father poked his chopsticks just below the fish eye and plucked out the soft meat. “Amy, your favorite,” he said, offering me the tender fish cheek. I wanted to disappear.” This shows an example of ethnicity because it is the way her family acts by showing you how it would be to be present at the table with her family by using imagery. It helps you understand how uncomfortable she was. Now you have finished dinner and you are sitting around, chatting with others. “At the end of the meal my father leaned back and belched loudly, thanking my mother for her fine cooking.” The guests were astonished at his actions because they are not accustomed with their cultures behaviors. The imagery used to describe...

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