Identity shows a person’s individuality. A person’s individuality can include how they dress, their beliefs, their personality traits, the way they speak, their culture, their education, etc. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and in my own life, it is evident that when exploring identity, a character must leave and return to his/her roots before truly understanding him/herself.
Arnold finds out who he is by leaving and later coming back to Rowdy. In the last scene, before Arnold and Rowdy played their one-on-one basketball game, Arnold and Rowdy repair their lost friendship. It is then that Arnold thinks, “I would always love Rowdy. And I would always miss him too.” (230) This quote shows how Arnold realizes that he is different from Rowdy. To begin, he has always valued his friendship with Rowdy and so he says that he “would always love Rowdy.” Even when Arnold had a disagreement with Rowdy when heading to Reardan for a better education, he still thought of how Rowdy would defend him. However, by the end of the book, Arnold realizes that he will have to “miss” Rowdy because their dreams make them too different from each other. Therefore, Arnold discovers that his life can still include Rowdy, who has been his friend since the beginning, however, he cannot rely on Rowdy to be with him always. By the end of the book, Arnold has returned to Rowdy as a stronger and independent person.
Similarly, I found my true identity after leaving and returning to my family. Growing up, I came from a home that was traditionally Chinese. We did not easily express our emotions, we were not allowed to date until after college, and being successful at school would ultimately bring honor to my family. Though these beliefs were deeply ingrained in everything I did, a rebellious side of me wanted to discover what it meant to be American as well. Why were the other families so expressive and communicative towards each other? What mattered beyond...
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