Complex Identity

Topics: World War II, Pico Iyer, Assimilation Pages: 4 (1465 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Identity Cliff
The most confusing moment in my life is when somebody asks, "Where are you from?" The answer I always pick is "Taiwan," but I feel like I am lying to others and myself. I moved from Taiwan to Shanghai with my family when I was ten. After living there for eight years, I have declared Shanghai as my home. However, I do not completely transform into "Shanghainese." Some parts of me are still "Taiwanese." I sometimes use both Chinese and Taiwanese slang at the same time. All my friends who have the same background with me do. However, we all feel lost when our words cannot be understood by both pure Taiwanese and pure Chinese people. Who are we? Eva Hoffman, the author of Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language, also faces the challenge when trying to identify herself. She loses the sense of self after her family moves, and her surroundings, language, and name changes because of assimilation. Similar to Eva, bell hooks, the author of the essay "Keeping Close to Home: Class and Education," is also confused by assimilation. Likewise, Pico Iyer, who is born to Indian parents in England and then moves to California, faces the loss of identity on the base of having no actual home. Although Hoffman, hooks, and Iyer all have difficulties finding suitable identities, the reasons why they lose their identities are different. Hoffman and hooks lose their identities because they move from a place they view as home to an unknown one while Iyer loses his because he never has an actual defined home. In her memoir, Hoffman describes her personal story of experience as an emigrant. She is born in Poland after World War Two. She spends most of her childhood there. However, after they get the visa of immigration, Hoffman and her family move to Canada. This moving is a big turning point in her life. She tries to maintain her origin while actually she is assimilating to the new environment. At the beginning she does not like the...

Cited: Hoffman, Eva. Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language. New York: The
Penguin Group, 1990. Print.
hooks, bell. "Keeping Close to Home: Class and Education." The Norton Mix. New
York: W. W. Norton, 2012. 169-182. Print.
Iyer, Pico. "The Burning House." The Norton Mix. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012.
183-201. Print.
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