Self-Discovery and Personal Identity

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Self Discovery: After Self-Discovery Already Happened
The feeling of personal identity is one that is engraved into the being of every human from a very young age. Through countless life experiences, some good and some bad, this sense of who we are and what our purpose is as human beings changes. Where we grow up, the personal relationships we decide to let grow or fizzle out, and even what we eat for breakfast make up our identities. By the time adulthood, marriage, children, and old age, most people have already gone through the period of finding themselves. The authors of the short stories A History of Everything Including You, How I Left Ned, The Rememberer, and Other Persons introduce readers to characters that discover new things about themselves and the relationships they are in after the typical period of self-discovery.

In A History of Everything Including You, the author introduces readers to a character that discovers something new about herself when their life partner is dying. The story tells the chronicle of a girl and boy that met in college, fell in love, got married, had kids, and grew old together. The couple featured in the story is already quite old when the new found self-discovery comes into play. Through their age and therefore life experience, the reader assumes that they already know who they are even though their life might not have been the ideal fairytale progression. Towards the middle of the story when the husband is dying, he asks his wife “ Can you believe it?” (26). This refers to their life, specifically how quickly it has passed. They led a typical fast paced suburban lifestyle with too much alcohol and marital problems. The tone of this question is unclear, but the wife’s answer of “not really” seems to suggest that they are in two separate mental places (26). As the story continues and the reflections blossom, the wife ends the story with the words “I saw the clouds were beautiful and I watched them cover the sun.” (28)....
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