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Levithan and Looking Glass Self Theory

By Elizabeth4412 Oct 09, 2013 585 Words

David Levithan author of Every Day, described the reason for why he wrote the book and what it symbolizes. He does this by connecting his own adolescent views of the world and discusses self-identification similar to sociologies Looking glass self-theory. In the novel Every Day, A and Rhiannan are the leading characters, mostly A. A is neither male nor female, gay, bisexual, transgendered, black, white, Hispanic, or any ethnicity at all. A completely objective being. Levithan’s reasoning behind this was because he wanted to present the idea of not being defined by your body. He brought up the questions “What if you weren’t defined, who would you be, and how would these things mold you as a person passing from person to person through A’s perspective”. His discussion was mostly based on self-identification and how this is vital especially during one’s adolescence.

A college environment plays a huge role in one’s adolescence. Although Levithan’s characters are around sixteen to seventeen years of age, he referenced that self-identification plays a huge role in college life. Being away from parents, hometown views, church views, and with the freedom to make your own decisions about how you want to define yourself, there are endless possibilities, as seen through A’s character. Within A’s experiences Levithan detailed that the clothing, race, and standards all defined A at one point because of the body exchanges depicting a view of today’s society and how judgments fall so quickly.

With the theory of the looking glass self in sociology,
“Charles Horton Cooley´s concept of the looking glass self, states that a person’s self grows out of a person´s social interactions with others. The view of ourselves comes from the contemplation of personal qualities and impressions of how others perceive us. Actually, how we see ourselves does not come from who we really are, but rather from how we believe others see us”.

Another definition that Levithan brought up during the discussion was the notion of how love is love and how we are also defined by this through our gender. How society has its own ideals of who should and shouldn’t be in a relationship and how a person should be. Levithan pointed out that the main theme of his book was to simply be yourself and find yourself. They appear to be simple tasks and easy right? However in order to find yourself and be yourself, one must go through certain obstacles and experiences as described in Every Day to actually do so.

Levithan discussed how communication is vital and how talking to people, especially people that are associated with the university lifestyle, can enlighten ones perspective on a variety of things. That these interactions are what aid in the identification process which is also seen in A’s character. Connections are also a personal choice and as people in today’s society there are many choices. So there isn’t just the outside ideals of how we should be but also internal one’s that can be chosen instead of followed. An example would be if a person was a leader rather than a follower because the leader would know who they are and what they wanted, instead of a follower that is going with the typical norm.

Works Cited
Isaksen, J. V. (2013, May 27). Popular Social Science: Bridging the Gap. Retrieved from The Looking Glass Self: How Our Self-image is Shaped by Society:

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