Marcia And Calvino: Great Minds Think Alike?

953 words - 4 pages

When reading Italo Calvino's Nonexistent Knight, it is easy to consider that he may have based his characters on Marcia's theory of identity development. Or when studying Marcia's theory of identity development, it is easy to ponder whether or not he developed his theory based on the actions of Calvino's characters. Neither of these instances, however, is the case. It would be anachronistic to say Calvino's book was influenced by Marcia's theory, and it would be illogical to believe that Marcia based his theory solely on fictional characters, especially one who doesn't really exist! Nevertheless, there are striking similarities between the thought patterns of these two men and their understanding of human nature. Marcia's theory of identity development expands on Erikson's fifth stage of psychosocial development, which is the stage of identity versus identity confusion. In applications of his theory, Marcia examines the interactions and the resulting effects of identity exploration and identity commitment. He then categorizes individuals into one of three fours groups based on their levels of both commitment and exploration. These categorizations are designed to pinpoint where an individual is in regards to his or her identity development. If an individual has not engaged in any identity exploration and has no commitment to any identity or any ideals, the individual is said to be identity-diffused. Gurduloo serves as a terrific as an identity-diffused individual. He doesn't even have any commitment to a name! Whatever Gurduloo is around, Gurduloo becomes, whether it is soup, a ball or tree. He has no sense of individuality or identity at all, and shows no commitment to any identity. Gurduloo is not actively exploring identity options either. While he does show a wide variance in his choices of objects to imitate, Gurduloo does not seriously consider any choice. He simply becomes on thing until another thing comes along and distracts him. Just like his identity, his actions and thoughts are very diffused. A person whose engaging in identity exploration but has made no commitments is in moratorium. Moratorium is, by definition, a state of identity exploration. Raimbaut, Bradamante, and Torrismund can all be cited as examples of individuals in the moratorium phase of identity development, although none are the ideal example of their respective phase as Gurduloo was of his. All of these characters enter into identity exploration throughout the course of the book, which actually involves disillusionment for them all. Raimbaut becomes disillusioned with the military life and seeks to find meaning within it, and Torrismund becomes disillusioned with both his family history and the Knights Templar. He finally rebels...

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