Personal Identity: Who Are You? Essay

1406 words - 6 pages

Identity, an ambiguous idea, plays an important part in today’s world. To me identity can be defined as who a person is or what differentiates one person from another. Identity would be a person’s name, age, height, ethnicity, personality, and more. A quote by Anne Sexton states “It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was”(Anne Sexton). This quote helps me define identity because I believe it is saying that identity is what people are remembered by. When some people think of identity, words such as, uniqueness, distinctiveness, or individuality may come to mind. However, I disagree with this because when I think of identity I think of mimicry, self-consciousness, or opinions.
I think of words such as those because of a quote I once read stating that “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinion, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation”(Oscar Wilde).When analyzed, it is telling you that when someone has strong feelings for something it could be because he or she heard or read a quotation. For instance, because I read the quote above by Oscar Wilde the words mimicry, self-consciousness, and opinions enter my mind when I thing about identity. It is also telling us that people base their identity on someone else’s opinion. For example, a teenager at school may change his behavior or style of clothing because in one person’s opinion he may not be cool enough. Lastly, it is stating that life is patterned. People tend to do the same thing repeatedly. Maybe because they are afraid of change or because they see so many people doing something it just feels natural for them to do it too. Which leads to the next quote I am going to bring up.
“The best mirror is an old friend” (George Herbert). This quote also shows how identity could be patterned. This happens because if you are friends with a person for a long enough period both of you will eventually become similar. Your personality and actions will become very much alike and at times may not differ. So if people want to see what they act like they can most likely observe an old and close friend. A person’s culture would be an example of how identity is patterned or mimicked. One definition of culture that I agree with corresponds to The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition which states that “culture is defined as the shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, affective understanding that is learned through a process of socialization, and distinguishing one from another”(Maximizing Study 1). In other words, culture can be copied within the same cultural group, but it still distinguishes one cultural group from another.
An example of culture being patterned would be in “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. In the story a character is born into a poor family. When the character grows up she is still poor. But she envisions herself becoming rich and she does this by wearing a diamond necklace, that she...

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