Identity

Good Essays
Laura Diehl
Professor John Ribar
College Composition 1
8 January 2013
Week 1 Assignment: Identity The question of identity has rattled the human brain for years. Many different things can help shape a person’s identity. The three most common assumptions about identity are: (1) Identity is what we’re born with, (2) Identity is shaped by culture, and (3) Identity is shaped by personal choices. The next three paragraphs will explain how each essay supports or refute one of the assumptions about identity. In the first essay, ‘Masks’, written by Lucy Grealy, it supports the assumption that identity is shaped by culture. Lucy talks about the struggle through school as a child. At age six, Lucy was diagnosed with a lethal form of jaw cancer and nearly lost half her jaw to the disease. The frequent surgeries had to reconstruct her face left her with some very noticeable scars. In her essay, she talks about the way other kids treated her or talked to her when they saw how she looked. “They pointed openly and laughed, calling out loudly enough for me to hear. ‘What on earth is that?’(Grealy, Pg. 69)” That is the ugliest girl I have ever seen.’ Lucy also explains how she dealt with all of the pain and torment she was receiving from other kids by saying, “I treated despair in terms of hierarchy: If there was a more important pain in the world, it meant my own was negated. (Grealy, Pg. 70)” The culture of the school made it easy for other students to bully her and tease her about the way she looked. As a result, Lucy became very self-conscious of her identity. Because of the culture Lucy grew up in, her identity was shaped in a way that made her feel self-conscious about the way she looked. Lucy’s story is just one out of many that proves that a person’s identity can be shaped by culture. In another essay, ‘High School’s Secret Life’, written by Emily White, also supports the assumption that identity is shaped by culture. In her essay she observes the students of a

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