Family Identity

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FamoilArgumentation Essay: Identity
A person’s identity is often considered a trait that someone is born with, similar to physical traits such as eye color or face shape. In actuality, identity is not something that can be determined by a particular strand of DNA, rather it is something that must be formed throughout a lifetime. Thus, at birth, one’s identity is a blank canvas, ready to absorb knowledge from its immediate surroundings, more particularly family, as it is the first thing a fresh identity is exposed to. As evidenced by Grapes of Wrath, Abraham Lincoln, and The Great Gatsby, one’s identity is primarily determined by his or her family.

In Grapes of Wrath, the Joad’s identify themselves with their land, as farming is their only livelihood. Without land to farm, the Joads’s way of life is entirely uprooted; thus, they are forced to change their identities in order to survive. However, this identification with the land is not something each Joad is born with; rather, it is a relationship that is primarily influenced by family. Initially, Ruthie and Winifield, both still young children, do not understand the emotional impact of the Dustbowl on their family. However, as they watch their father, they begin to understand that his land is what makes him who he is, and without it, he is lost. At this point, Ruthie and Winifield’s new identities are starting to take shape as they, too, learn to love the land.

Abraham Lincoln, a former president of the United States, grew up in a small cabin to a poor family. He was able to attend school as a young boy; however, the educational system of his rural town in Kentucky put him at a disadvantage to many other politicians he competed against. When Lincoln’s mother passed, he was left to be raised by only his father, whom he gradually became estranged from. However, these disadvantages that Lincoln faced made him the self-motivated and ambitious man he soon became. Had he been raised in a well-to-do family...
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