Analysis Of Kenneth Gergen's In Defense Of Masks

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In the essay “In Defense of Masks,” by Kenneth Gergen, he states how people do not “normally develop a coherent sense of identity” (Gergen 2). Gergen talks about how we as people may “experience severe emotional distress,” (Gergen 2) instead of having a set identity. The difference between the idea of multiple identities that are represented by masks and having a coherent sense of identity of one’s true self, is that having a coherent sense of identity means that a person stays the same in every situation and never changes. On the other hand, having multiple identities that are represented by masks means that one’s identity is ever changing and shifting depending on the situation that they are in and the people who surround them. However, even…show more content…
In general, my sister and I are both loud goofballs who make jokes out of everything and find the simplest things to entertain us when we are with each other. When we are together, we are both able to have a deeper sense of our “coherent identity” and do not have to wear a mask for each other because we are not trying to seek approval from each other. However, even though we know who we are, we still have to wear a mask when we leave our house because we do not want others to know who we really are. For example, when we are around our parent’s friends, we always have to put on a smile and talk very soft and polite, even though we are having a bad day and in general are loud people because we cannot make our parents look bad or give off the impression that my sister and I were not raised correctly by our parents. Another example would be the different masks that I have when I’m in class and when I’m not in class. While in class, I am quite and do not participate in talking because growing up I was told by my elders that it was always better to listen to what others had to say in order to gain knowledge and insight instead of talking and that I should only speak up when I was confused.On the other hand, when I am outside of the classroom, I become this whole different person and start to talk more. I feel that I have gotten use to being quiet in the classroom and conformed to putting on my mask everyday that it is hard for me to not wear the mask in class because if I do not wear it, I feel that I am loosing a part of who I am. All in all, this shows how when we are not seeking approval, we are able to take off our masks and our “self-presentations [becomes] much different in character” (Gergen

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