The Divided Self

1784 Words8 Pages
In my elementary youth, I remember my father showing me a trick with the window-sized mirrors on our bathroom cabinet. He opened the cabinet mirrors such that they faced each other at an angle and then told me to stand in the space between them. Upon stepping in, I was face to face with a visibly infinite number of planes of myself. Little did I know at the time, by introducing me to what appeared to being a virtually endless line of clones, my father was formally introducing me to both yet another indeterminacy of the natural world and, at higher level, to the multiplicity of who I am. Being only five years old at the time, I was in total shock and awe at this defying void, which challenged all of my preexisting conceptions of the world around me; I was no longer one reflecting plane that stared right back at me, I was seemingly much more than that. My father left me there to figure it out on my own. As years passed, I would stand there for hours at time, gazing at the umpteen images of myself in the mirror. Although I was soon able to easily comprehend the various properties of reflection—thus honing it to the extent that it is only narrowly indeterminate—I have to create a more rigid conception of the person I see in the mirror. My father shattering these determinacies, which were once laid out so easily before me, was an entry into confusion, but at the same time a step towards clarity and understanding in the long run. Though this scenario is only instance in perceiving and making sense of the world around me, it gives way to the more pressing implication that life is nothing more than an endless cycle of entry and exit into and out of confusion. In the sense of interpreting ourselves, people do not arrive at a single ultima... ... middle of paper ... ...t a way out of confusion, and ultimately regaining clarity with better standing of the many faces of my divided self. It is with this, that we oscillate like Walden Pond, always rising and receding back to place of comfort. Works Cited Burke, Kenneth, Joseph R. Gusfield. On Symbols and Society. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1989. Print. Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. New York: Random House, 1976. Print. Ong, Walter Jackson. Voice as Summons for Belief: Literature, Faith and the Divided Self. New York: Fordham University, 1958. Print. Taylor, Charles. Human Agency and Language. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1985. Print. Thoreau, Henry David, William John. Rossi. Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings: Authoritative Texts, Journal, Reviews and Posthumous Assessments, Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. Print.
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