“An individual’s sense of identity emerges from the connections made with people, places and the community they interact with”
The question of whether or not connections made with people, places and the surrounding community, does in fact shape our identities and in turn helps them emerge is a very complex one. Identities are what give people their own characteristics and uniqueness. Emerge means to become prominent or obvious, and in this case, an emerging identity simply means the development a character goes through as the story progresses, as a result of influences made on them by external entities. Thus, the text ‘The Declaration’, written by Gemma Malley, is brought in, as it demonstrates this notion that a person or characters identity is created through the connections they make with other people, places and their community. The main character Anna Covey, and supporting character Margaret Pincent, are key to this notion, as they both demonstrate how external influences, which in this instance are: the connections made with other people, places and their community, are able to create and allow one’s personality to manifest into one’s own unique identity.
The main character of the book, Anna Covey, is a prime example in showing how one’s identity can be shaped, and manifests through external influences. The first point regarding this is influence by other characters in the novel. Anna in the novel is surrounded by two kinds of people, Legals and other surpluses. At first in the book, Anna’s primary influence was from the legals that controlled ‘Grange Hall’, the place where Anna was being kept. She was ‘nurtured’ by Mrs Pincent and other superiors (Legals) to be shaped into the brainwashed, two-dimensional, and obedient Anna that is given to the audience in the first part of the book. However, Anna’s own and true identity, does manage to emerge in two instances. One in her diary, which was written in first person (pg. 7-15) to convey her own perspective, which allowed her the tiny bit of freedom to express herself, and the other after meeting and escaping with Peter. He ‘nurtured’ her into coming out of her surplus shell. His character contrasted and juxtaposed with the surpluses in Grange Hall (who all shared extremely similar traits with Anna), and the legals. He was defiant, and stubborn, and thought for himself, something surpluses never thought of thinking about. Thus, Peter pulled at Anna’s curiosity, which in turn, pulled out her true personality. This can be seen in this metaphor “The truth was that Peter was a windows through which Anna could glimpse the world outside”. This example of dialogue shows Peter’s persistence in pulling Anna away from her Surplus self “’No one loves me’ said Anna in a small voice. ‘No one. I’m just a Surplus’. ‘No’ said Peter fiercely ‘you’re not’”. Peter transformed Anna into herself, rather than being the product the legals forced onto her. Thus, it can be seen that yes, people’s identities can be influenced by other people, and the question of whether or not these connections are good or bad, depends entirely on the other people around the person in question.
Another factor that influence people’s identities is the place, and/or the environment around a person. The environment around Anna has a clear affect on her throughout the book. ‘Grange Hall’ is a surplus hall, where surpluses are taken and trained to become valuable assets, which would allow them to work for legals and become free. Grange Hall in many ways is a literary allegory to a prison; it has large outer walls to prevent escape, everything runs on a schedule, the walls and dull and grey etc. Anna’s self is deeply connected with Grange Hall, and in a way, is similar to it, and despite the pain and suffering it had brought to her, her connection with the building comforts her. The use of visual imagery helps to insinuate this notion, although it only describes one room: “The room represented many things to...
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