Identity in Tender is the Night and Appointment in Samarra Essay

Identity in Tender is the Night and Appointment in Samarra Essay

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According to the Merriam Webster, identity is the “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances” (Merriam Webster). An identity can be the qualities or beliefs that make a person different from another, but it is also the thing that connects them. A man’s identity stays with him “for the rest of his life” and is something that “[can] not change much” (O’Hara 202, 193). Identity is who one is born to, what one thinks, what one says, and what one does; John O’Hara and F. Scott Fitzgerald both utilize the theme of identity in describing the lives and actions of the central characters Julian English and Dick Diver in their novels, Appointment in Samarra and Tender is the Night. Discovering their individual identities is a journey for both men, and on their journey to self-discovery the men believe that by fixing their lives they will discover their identity. Both Julian and Dick struggle to maintain perfect order in their lives by controlling fate, but their ancestral obligations lead to self-destruction and inevitable downfall. While Diver commits social suicide, English commits actual suicide, and the two seal their fates the second they try to change their journey. Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus complex is a feeling of sexual attracting of a child toward their parent; the fixation towards one’s father or mother can lead to choices of sexual partners or spouses that resemble the parent. The wives of Julian English and Dick Diver, Caroline and Nicole, marry their husbands because of their fatherly personas, and Caroline and Nicole’s own incestuous pasts shape and control their relationships with Julian and Dick. The superficiality of English and Diver and their inability to realize who they are lead to a need to contro...


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Tomkins, David. "Appointment in Samarra." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 21 Oct. 2013

"War and Grace: The Importance of Tender is the Night." Tender is the Night: The Broken Universe. Milton R. Stern. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1994. 3-13. Twayne's Masterwork Studies 137. Twayne's Authors on GVRL. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.


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