Nature Of Identity Essay

1443 words - 6 pages

The Fragility (or Nature) of Identity
An entire lifetime is spent constructing ones identity; moulding it, nourishing it, and even butchering it. The idea of having an identity pleases most of us, as we regard it as something of significance which aids in our understanding of who we are. One’s identity is usually a collection of beliefs about oneself; a self-concept that includes elements such as religion, sexuality, ones role in society and is generally thought to embody the answer to “Who am I?” One’s identity is constantly weakened as well as strengthened with the events that occur in one’s life, both external and internal. The statement, “I know who I am” is arrived at through complex ...view middle of the document...

Life is unpredictable. And with it so is the way we present ourselves in certain situations and environments. We are often bombarded by outward forces and are left with no choice but to be chameleon to them and behave accordingly. To be one with life’s vicissitudes and experiences sounds easy enough, however in the case of Zachary Graff, it proved to be life taking. Graff was a misunderstood teen, whose complex self-image was yet to be understood by him. His awkward character is the result of labels from society, and even as he first meets Miss Popular, Sunny, he struggles to approach her because it is not expected of him. He faced many internal conflicts along with societal pressures which came together to disturb Zachary’s stability and developing identity. He struggles to find connections and make sense of who he is essentially as he deals with what it takes to be ‘different’. His developing feelings for both Sunny and Tobias as he opens up to them, set in motion the internal conflicts he deals with throughout “Life after High School”. Pressured by the moral conformity of life in the USA in the late 1950s, Zach did everything in his power to conceal his homosexuality. He deemed himself a “pervert” and was consumed by his obsession to create the illusion of a traditional love relationship with the ideal girl while masking his true feelings for Tobias. The result of the trials and tribulations of teenage life are vividly captured in “Life after High School” as Zach experiences issues with sexuality and morality. Zachary masks himself with the lies he tells others as well as himself in an attempt to conceal the biggest truth in his life. Society prevented him to take any action towards expressing himself, with fear of the repercussions it would have. The unfortunate reality of Zachary’s story was the fact that he wasn’t able to come to terms with who he was, and so it was almost impossible to expect acceptance from society. Moreover, Zachary lived in fear of becoming a stigma, and this fear manifested the need to create the façade he displayed. Society pushed him to his limits after Sunny’s rejection with his final act of concealment being death. Romantic rejection on its self is very painful, but at least the affection was provided with opportunity to be expressed. How much more painful is the event when affection is not allowed a means of expression and must remain buried deep? His frustrations and self-hate overwhelmed his being and led up to suicide, which was the direct result of the crippling effects of society’s ostracism. In the case of Zachary Graff and many others like him, different social situations compel one to attach themselves to different self-identities in an attempt to avoid being marginalized. These different self-images are dichotomized between what people want to be, the ideal self, and the pressures of society on their being, the confined self. Society’s obstinate attitude towards unconventionality has become central in...

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