A fragmented identity: An investigation of the struggle of identity through language Essay

1361 WordsOct 8, 20096 Pages
A fragmented identity: An investigation of the struggle of identity through language in Julia Alvarez’ How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Establishing one’s identity is a complex problem that everyone eventually faces. The majority of social science textbooks will claim that a person’s identity is a result of particular social and, possibly, biological factors that combine together to form this nebulous concept of personality, character, or ‘identity’. In order to simplify this word and make it useful within this discussion, we can understand it as the means an individual has of defining and comprehending who she is and how she fits into the society surrounding her. From the social perspective, we typically scrutinize other people in order to either find evidence of similarity between ourselves and our image of the others thus identifying with that image, or to find evidence of difference thus identifying our selves against that image. Furthermore, we seek the surrounding culture for judgment of these images. For instance, a little girl and a little boy playing in a bathtub will both come to the obvious conclusion that they are different from one another. As they struggle to classify their differences in the society the boy will come to the conclusion that his difference is valued and sets a particular standard within a patriarchal society. In contrast, the girl will discover her difference is not privileged that she is defined by the culture as all that the boy is not; she is a non-boy. The girl, in turn, has an image of herself as a lack of being a boy. Thus, the existence of specific standards by which everyone in the society is judged results in a situation of social confusion for those people who don’t meet the standards. The complexity of establishing an identity is exacerbated by this social confusion. We can think of the confusion brought on by

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