How do experiences, good or bad, shape the identity of an individual and make them stand apart from others? In the award winning novel A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Toews and the classic best seller Anne of Green Gables, by L.M Montgomery, the struggle and desire to find personal identity is profound. Through a series of experiences, the main characters in each novel, one a rebellious Mennonite and the other a red headed orphan, are forced to look within themselves and realize one of the most commonly asked question, “who am I?” As both Nomi and Anne grow internally, not only do they find gratification for themselves, but they also allow others to be set free in the same way. From the beginning of the book to the end, Nomi and Anne’s personal changes are drastic and through all their hardships, both characters and their companions become changed for the better. Experiences are the foundation to discovering personal identity, seen through death, expectations, rejuvenation.
Death can be seen as a catalyst for the formation of personal identity. This is evident through the death of family, life, and religion. First, in A Complicated Kindness Nomi's personality is shaped when she deals with the death of her family structure. When her mother and sister disappear, “Sometimes I think Trudie blamed Ray for Tash leaving town with Ian because if Ray had agreed to leave first, had taken us all off to some other place, Tash wouldn’t have had anything to rebel against and would have stuck around”, (118, Toews). Nomi and her father, Ray, are abandoned by Trudie and Tash, Nomi’s mother and sister, because their religious community is suffocating. Through this abandonment, Nomi and Ray are left with only each other and learn to work together as a small family. With the loss of her female role models, Nomi is forced to mature and develops a unique, free-thinking attitude on life. Death of family is also seen in Anne of Green Gables when... [continues]
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