The Identity Dilemma through Form and Content Essay

The Identity Dilemma through Form and Content Essay

Length: 1644 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Identity Dilemma through Form and Content
Imagine comparing a person to a language. It would be so tricky and overwhelming: finding grammatical structures that would fit into a person’s personality, verb tenses related to life experiences etc. However, there are two main things which make a person and a language highly comparable: form and content. What are form and content? How are they related to each other? In his essay “Devoid of Content”, scholar Stanley Fish argues that when considering a language, we should leave content outside and just focus on form, because form eventually leads to content. David Shipley and Will Schwalbe, in “How to Write (the Perfect) Email”, point out the importance of form as it leads to a better content in writing emails. But is it really only about form? How many things do we know that only rely on form as a key to content? Although Fish, Shipley and Schwalbe put emphasis on form as a way to content, Gogol, the main character of Jumpha Lahiri’s novel The Namesake, shows that a person can never be “devoid of content” or a “perfect grammatical” structure because form and content are indeed equivalent and they reflect that person’s identity. Gogol actually swims across a medium of overlapping forms and contents which define his life and sense of belonging.
Whether it is a book, piece of art or even something that we eat, most of the things that we see and perceive in our lives are generally distinguished by their form and content. Form and content have always been a discussion topic among great philosophers (such as Aristotle, Kant, Hegel), lovers of art and intellectuals. These two categories, seemingly different from one another, when fully elaborated, are actually interrelated ide...

... middle of paper ...

...hipley and Schwalbe claim. As Dostoyevsky once said “We all came out of Gogol’s overcoat” (Lahiri 78), the overcoat would represent a person’s struggle to belong in the society. And as we saw this struggle mainly focuses on the form and content of what a person does and perceives from his actions. Since form and content are both part of each other, a person benefits from this smooth transition between them to deal with the quest of identifying himself. After all, we are part of the same “overcoat”.

Works Cited

Fish, Stanley. “Devoid of Content.” The Norton Mix: The Global University. A Custom Publication. W.W Norton, 2013.101-105. Print.
Shipley,David, Schwalbe, Will. “How to Write (the Perfect) Email” The Norton Mix: The Global University. A Custom Publication. W.W Norton, 2013.273-282. Print.
Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. New York: Mariner Books, 2003. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Quest for Identity in the Victorian Era Essay

- Quest for Identity in the Victorian Era         "'Who are you?' said the caterpillar" to Alice (Carroll 60).  This was a question she could not answer.  Why doesn't Alice know what constitutes her being?  Humans desire completeness, and a solid identity.  Up to the age of Darwinism, that void was filled by religious faith.  But with the emergence of Charles Darwin's theories on natural selection and survival of the fittest, Victorians were reevaluating their paths to righteousness.  Without God as a foundation, what were life's rules?    Peter Bowler argues in Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence that the old road to salvation had been damaged by one of Darwin's greatest triumph...   [tags: Literature Essays Literary Criticism]

Powerful Essays
1884 words (5.4 pages)

Finding Your Identity Essay

- "Just be YOURSELF... ", we've all heard this saying before, in various situations and circumstances. However, since this is an abstract concept, actually being "one's self" involves a unique journey, an endeavor filled with emotions, self-analysis and the final realization of who one is. Internal and external influences affect how a person views him or herself. Two dramatic characters, a man and a woman, go through mirrored voyages of self-recognition that leads them each to their own identities......   [tags: American Literature]

Powerful Essays
856 words (2.4 pages)

Indexical Grids and the Construction of Identity in Wilde’s The Importance of Earnest

- The Victorian Google: Indexical Grids and the Construction of Identity in Wilde’s The Importance of Earnest This paper considers the indexical grid, those texts such as the railway time table, the army list, or the postal directory upon which the Victorians depended to manage the proliferation of information in the nineteenth century even as we use internet search engines such as Google today. Then as now the indexical grid surpassed its utilitarian function as simply a means of locating a person’s address or confirming a fact....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Victorian Time Period]

Powerful Essays
1025 words (2.9 pages)

What Side Are You on? Eugene O’Neill Explores Groups and Belonging in "The Hairy Ape"

- In the mist of a major conflict the most crucial decision made is deciding upon what faction to side with. The final choice stands as the product of introspection and a social projection of internal beliefs. However, often the presented factions do not coincide with our own beliefs in their entirety. In such case an individual is faced with a more complex and tumultuous question of belonging. Eugene O’Neill explores the issue of groups and belonging in The Hairy Ape. Written in 1921, the play is deeply rooted in the issues of the working class, and seems relative to the dilemma of the 1919 labor strike....   [tags: Eugene O’Neill, belonging, identity, psychology, p]

Powerful Essays
605 words (1.7 pages)

Creating Meaning and Identity through Consumption Essay

- Under the current capitalism society and material culture, people tend to form their identities through consumption, this means more than to consume products which are needed to survive, consumption can also link to self-identity formation and expression. People are imperceptibly influenced by the mass media that self-identity can be shaped and formed through consuming specific products. Therefore it can be said, fashion is an important element of identity formation. Young people are commonly feared of being seen as outdated and seek for acceptance from the peers and the society....   [tags: Mass Consumption and Identity]

Powerful Essays
1302 words (3.7 pages)

Question and Answers: Destructive Behaviors, Prisoner's Dilemma and GRIT

- 1. Describe how being in a crowd can lead people to engage in destructive behaviors When people join a large crowd, often they find themselves losing their individuality. Some people may feel a strong desire to conform to fit into the crowd (Changing Minds, 2013). People in crowds may undergo deindividuation, which is a loss of individual identity to gain the social identity of the group. This can result in a loss of the normal constraints that a person may have to guard against deviant behavior (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2010)....   [tags: large crowd, resource dilemma]

Powerful Essays
1102 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about Identity Is A Form Of An Id

- Every person has their own identity that forms who they are. Many people think that identity is a form of an ID, but identity is more than a collection of traits, skin or body parts. Identity is always a historical idea, but it is also a pattern for a way of thinking. After reading chapter 5 on “Identities and Perceptions,” I learned that everyone has multiple identities that are transacted through communication, but at the same time it also defines who you are as a person. Chapter 5 also demonstrates perception, which is someone’s perspective or point of view....   [tags: Culture, Cross-cultural communication]

Powerful Essays
715 words (2 pages)

What Components Form An Identity? Essay

- Who am I. Various traits may define who one is. What components form an identity. Various components may form an identity. Is a personal identity real. This varies from person to person. Along with everyday people having an opinion, plenty of philosophers do as well. Three different variations of ideas on personal identity that will be covered come from; John Locke, David Hume, and a Buddhist scripture. The theories range from not having a personal identity to considering personal identity to be one’s physical soul....   [tags: Soul, Mind, Spirit, Consciousness]

Powerful Essays
1197 words (3.4 pages)

Identity Theft Through Social Media Essay

- Identity Theft Through Social Media Identity thieves are now making their way through social media sites, targeting more innocent people than ever . There are four major way 's peoples identity 's are at risk with the use of social media , these risks include general information ,facial recognition ,status updates ,and internet invitations ,these are the major way 's identity theft is made possible through social media. The first way identity thieves are stealing others identities through social media, is simply by looking at a person 's general information ....   [tags: Identity theft, Theft, Facebook, Twitter]

Powerful Essays
1204 words (3.4 pages)

Jealousy in Cantor's Dilemma Essay

- Jealousy in Cantor's Dilemma The beast hides in the shadows. Its presence is all around us; its existence denied by all. It moves stealthily from one body to the next, peering with its infinite, green eyes into the deepest thoughts of all, a merciless predator seeking out those who least expect its attack. It strikes without a sound, paralyzing its prey. The monster's bite drives its victims into behaving rashly. It injects a poison strong enough to cause one to distrust one's best-friend....   [tags: Cantor's Dilemma Essays]

Powerful Essays
712 words (2 pages)