The Importance of Having an Identity

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  • Published : December 12, 2010
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Henry Lawson’s poem Second Class Wait Here (Second Class) shows that when an identity is forced upon an individual (an outcome of class labelling) they may struggle to feel a positive sense of belonging. Gordon Bennett’s three-panel canvas artwork Triptych: Requiem, Of Grandeur, Empire (Triptych) exemplifies how strongly accepting one’s identity under difficultcircumstances leads to a deep and enriching sense of belonging that may extend out to others.

Through the shepherd Corin, Shakespeare shows that a strong sense of identity can overshadow the derogations made by others. When Touchstone claims in Act Two that he is one of Corin’s ‘betters,’ Corin replies contentedly ‘Or else are they very wretched.’ Further on in the play, Touchstone uses simile to describe Corin ‘like an ill roasted egg, cooked all on one side’ when claiming Corin to be ‘wicked’ having never been to court. Corin, happy with his bucolic lifestyle, shrugs off each remark stating ‘Thou have too courtly a wit for me – I’ll rest.’ Contrastingly, Lawson in his poem Second Class shows how a lack of acceptance to one’s identity leads to a negative outlook on one’s circumstances. At the railstation Lawson works he feels surrounded and held back by signboards stating ‘Second Class wait here.’ To Lawson, the signboards become metaphors for social labelling and cause him...

At suburban railway stations - you may see them as you pass - There are signboards on the platform saying 'Wait here second class': And to me the whirr and thunder and the cluck of running gear Seems to be forever saying, saying 'Second class wait here' -
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