Essay on Valuable Identity Factors Allowing Acceptance in Society

Essay on Valuable Identity Factors Allowing Acceptance in Society

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A person’s family, race, culture, and life style within a society or a community are just a few factors that give him or her an identity. Coming to terms with understanding one’s identity is not simple because of the many factors defining it and might take one’s whole life to finally understand who he or she is. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid and “My Two-Lives” by Jhumpa Lahiri are both writing pieces that have characters who share these conflicting factors of identification yet still have very different views on which of these factors are more valuable to allow them to be accepted in their societies or communities.
The race of a person for instance might represent a certain uniqueness and pride yet at times, it can provoke a sense of shame and anger especially when a person is mixed in with more than one race or nationality. This kind of behavior is seen in Jhumpa Lahiri’s “My Two-Lives.” This piece of writing represents two completely opposite cultures where the narrator finds herself conflicted between the two. There are other identity factors such as her family, society and relationships that are at time intertwined which make it much more difficult for her to identify herself. Jhumpa has struggled for thirty-seven years to feel that sense of belonging in America. “Like many immigrant offspring I felt intense pressure to be two things: loyal to the old world and fluent in the new, approved of on either side of the hyphen” (Lahiri 647). In her early life, she was torn to be two different personalities because she couldn’t fully be herself either in school with her friends or at home with her parents. Her parents never thought of themselves as Americans. Even though they lived in the U.S., they still followed their Indian culture a...


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... of which factor is more valuable to focus on so that their societies may accept them. The girl is fighting to fit in society as a respectable woman with the help of her mother as opposed to Jhumpa who is more focused on being accepted into her society with two different cultures that she’s trying so hard to blend in with each other. The identity factors of each character such as family, race, and culture were heavily influenced by their society or community and therefore in the end given an identity.



Works Cited

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. By John Schilb and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 55-56. Print.
Lahiri, Jhumpa. "My Two Lives." Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. By John Schilb and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 646-48. Print.

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