Five Bells & the Dead Poet's Society

4469 Words18 Pages
Our identity is constructed by both external and internal forces, which can hinder or limit ones sense of self. External forces such as our relationships and particular events can hinder our ability to develop our true sense of self. Whilst internal forces such as our personal desires also have an impact on our identity. These external and internal forces can be witnessed in the novel Five Bells by Gail Jones, and the character of James, and also in the Dead Poets Society and character Neil Perry. Despite the differences in context and experiences, Neil and James show relations between elements of identity, which allows a greater insight into the broad idea of identity. The verity that two different characters are able to relate to one another, through external and internal forces, shows a fluidity of identity – and how it can alter for each individual. As a person, or character, matures their identity is forced to adjust due to changes in circumstance. To mature, one must experience a variety of emotions, and these emotions could stem from external events such as relationships or past events. Our identity is a myriad of experiences, or particular events, those both good and bad; and the shaping of our identity can be dependant on these experiences, and the ones we choose to remember and relive. After the death of Amy Brown, James seems to feel detached from the outside world. Becoming self-absorbed he wallows in grief and guilt, grief and guilt that constantly connects him to the incident. He progressively doubles in on himself emotionally, further detaching himself from people – especially those he must converse with to overcome the grief and guilt. ‘James had wanted to say: Forgive me, forgive me, something went wrong… There is no word I can offer, there is nothing I can say, that will make this right… the desperation I felt and the God-awful failure. And
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