Identity, as defined by Jonathan Friedman, is positional and can be determined by one’s place in a larger network of relations (36). Live and Become depicts the life of a young, Ethiopian boy who travels across countries in search of his identity. After losing most of his family to famine and disease, Schlomo, his assigned Jewish name, moves to Israel as a replacement child of a mother who had lost her son. As his mother sent him away, she told him to “Go. Live. Become.” But become what? Completely unaware of what this meant, he is soon adopted by a beautiful family. This marks the beginning of his journey to finding his identity. In this essay I will explore the process that Schlomo undergoes to find his identity in a world completely different than what he is accustomed to. Through Schlomo and other examples of lost identity, I will dissect the process of finding an identity through culture, language and education, and religion.
One’s surroundings, environment, and people all play a role in one’s culture. Many immigrants, refugees, and in Schlomo’s case, adopted kids find that they need to assimilate to their new environment. Others find the need to remain loyal to their previous culture, and oftentimes run into problems with this (“Caught between two worlds”). Up until the age of nine, Schlomo knew nothing except a world of famine, disease, violence, and death. The transition to life in a developed nation was quite troublesome for Schlomo. Even after months with his new family, Schlomo still would not eat the dinner that was prepared for him. It took quite some time, and also few adjustments of the family, for Schlomo to feel comfortable enough to speak, eat, and play freely in his own home. Schlomo had dark skin, ...
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...t be as simple as finding my identity was. Through Schlomo’s turmoil and strife, I think we can learn many lessons. He never gave up on his true beliefs. When he left his mother he had no idea what “Go. Live. Become” meant, but he figured it out. He became a doctor, a soldier, a father, and a man. Although I feel I have found my identity within the confines of college life, I am still trying to find an identity in my complete life. This I do not intend to find anytime soon.
"Caught between two worlds: the search for cultural identity in lahiri's the namesake" StudyMode.com. 03 2011. 2011. 03 2011 Web.
Friedman, Jonathan. "Properties of Global Systems." Cultural Identity and Global Process. London: Sage Publications, 1994. 36. Print.
Live and Become. Dir. Radu Mihaileanu. Perf. Sirak M. Sabahat and Yitzhak Edgar. Menemsha Films, 2005. Online.
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