Essay on The Correlation Between Identity And Culture

Essay on The Correlation Between Identity And Culture

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“Who am I?” It is the question every person will have to face in life. If that question is ever truly answered is another subject. However, it does lead to another intriguing question: why am I this way? Many have dove into the depths of this matter to try and establish the correlation between attaining an identity and the reason people end up with that said identity. There is a vast majority of subjects that people have said influence a person’s identity. However, James Baldwin in “Stranger in the Village,” and Jhumpa Lahiri in “My Two Lives,” focus on addressing, in their writing, the correlation between identity and culture. The examinations of these two essays puts forth key points that support the idea that identity and culture do affect one another.
Lahiri, an Indian-American author, writes of her experience of growing up with two cultures and the difficulties, common in immigrant families, she had faced, and how this experience is, ultimately, the cause of who she identified as throughout her life. With Indian parents and being raised in America from the age of two, Lahiri states in her essay that in her earlier years “Indian-American” was how she was described as, however, she hardly felt as if she could identify with “either side of the hyphen” (97,98). In other words, having these two cultures present in her life that supposedly made up who she was ended up making her feel that because she fell into both categories she could not fully relate to either culture, causing her to feel alienated. She goes on to say, “As a child I sought perfection and so denied myself the claim to any identity” (98). This thinking is a prime supporter of the correlation between culture and identity because it was culture that affected Lahiri’s...


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...d out of it a new identity came to be. Lahiri comes to a similar conclusion at the end of her essay when she finally reaches a middle ground in between the cultures by embracing them both in her life and, in a sense, creates a new culture and, as a result, finds her identity.
Overall, based on the recounting of both authors’ experiences, it can be concluded that culture and identity have a major influence on each other. Culture can have a great impact on identity, and vice-versa. In addition, both identity and culture can evolve into something completely new within time, as history can account for. Indeed, identity and culture have a clear correspondence to one another; now, the question is, are people willing to use this information as a driving force to make changes for the better, or will they remain stuck in the idea that their culture/identity is the only way?

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