"Self" Essay

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Human beings as individuals are very complicated. So many different aspects of life shape them and make them the person they are today. However, what exactly affects individuals in such a way that they can come out with a whole new identity? It is already well known that serving in a war and traumatic experiences can make a man or woman very unstable and depressed, whereas they may have been a very joyous person before. In everyday life you may see situations like this whether is be someone close to you, or a character on the television. Some changes may be for the better and can greatly increase the person's quality of life and their outlook on the rest of the world. These instances are hard to come by, though the origin of their happiness may not be as exciting or epic as the experiences that cause someone to become spiteful, but they are still a major part of someone's past, and therefore, equally as important. Sometimes, these experiences are unknown to the reader, and can only be discovered through their words and actions. In addition to an unknown past, there are also instances where things are left unsaid, and actions are not taken. A character is prevented from evolving when they make no effort to fulfill their life.

In the instance where a personal experience leaves you as just a mere shadow of yourself, you may not have suddenly changed. Sometimes just a small, single event in your life may grow and become something so out of control, you are left with no way out. In Oscar Wilde's novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” a young man, after receiving a beautiful portrait of himself, makes a wish that he could remain youthful and attractive for the rest of his days. Unfortunately, this simple request comes back to haunt him for the rest of his life. As the main protagonist becomes very bitter and vain, due to some outside influence from a friends, we see that his actions affect not him, but his portrait. The painting becomes ugly and eventually begins to bear all of the burdens of old age that Dorian would have originally had to experience. “The portrait is the main symbol at work here. It's kind of a living allegory, a visible interpretation of Dorian's soul... the picture represents Dorian's inner self, which becomes uglier with each passing hour and with every crime he commits.”(“The Picutre of Dorian Gray: Symbolism....” par. 5) If this item had not fallen into his possession, it can safely be assumed that Dorian would have grown to be a kindly old man. However, even without the dreadful wish that Gray made, there were other influences that caused him to change so drastically. In the beginning of the novel, Young Dorian was introduced to a man named Lord Henry by the artist who gave him the painting, and regrettably, the two became very close acquaintances. Lord Henry leads a very immoral and unsympathetic lifestyle, one which Gray begins to transition into. Gray does not believe Henry is trying to change him, but is simply feeding him new ideas that awaken a side of him that had been laying dormant. (“The Picture of Dorian Gray o the Influence Themes.”) So this brings forth the question: Do the people that a person surrounds themselves with reflect who they truly are, or who they want to be? Was Lord Henry simply the catalyst in Dorian Gray's downfall? The simple choices you make in your every day life can greatly affect who you are, and who you will become. Although you may not know it at the time, just the smallest decision can greatly affect your fate.

Next we come to the topic of a character's influence on those around them. A man or woman may already be a mature and stable individual that who is too stubborn to be swayed by those around them. In the play “The Glass Menagerie,” the author Tennessee Williams explores the idea that when you try and force someone to be something that they're not they will surely fight back. In the play, the lives of a mother, Amanda, and her two...
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