Use the top half of this page to post the definition of your keyword from your presentation and to upload four of your sources. (These should all be in the public domain). Include short commentaries about each.
Alexander Rosetti, Ethan Zawisza, Josh Zimmer
The definition of identity, regardless of time period, has always been two-fold- consisting of the concepts of social and personal identity.
Personal identity is the compilation of of the characteristics, morals, and beliefs that create self understanding for an individual or among a group. Social identity is the desired outward perception by others based on the personally ideal characteristics, morals and beliefs of an individual or for a group. The definition of identity is the combination and reciprocation of these these two ideas. Based on time period, the concentration of one versus the other varies. For example, before Crane's novel was written, the concentration was primarily on personal identity, but stories like "Maggie" brought on a stronger realization of the social identity.
"New York Public Library Digital Gallery". The New York Public Library. 10 October 2009 <http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm>.
"The New York Public Library Collection Online". The New York Public Library. 12 October 2009 <http://digital.nypl.org/mmpco/index.cfm>.
"The Nineteenth Century in Print". The Library of Congress. 10 October 2009 <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/moahtml/snchome.html>.
"Emergence of Advertising in America". Duke University Libraries. 11 October 2009 <http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/eaa/>.
Crane, Stephen. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Stilwell, KS: Digireads.com Publishing, 2005.
Tracking your Keyword
Use the bottom half of this page to discuss how your keyword has appeared in our readings and discussions, what it meant in that context, and how that usage and meaning connect (or fail to connect) with the entry in Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Your contributions might include archiving your keyword’s appearance in readings and discussions, or you might contribute by raising and/or discussing questions about the meaning of your keyword in different contexts.
The main character of Melville's Typee, Tommo, is presented with a test of identity in chapter 30. The tribe members show a heavy interest in tattooing Tommo's face similar to their own. This idea, however, repulses and gives much anxiety to Tommo. This is because changing his physical appearance detracts from his identity as a European. Changing his appearance, in Tommos Western-cultivated thought process, means forfeiting your credibility as a Westerner. To do this, would be to completely deface his identity. -Josh Zimmer
Linda, in Incidents of a Slave Girl, is in a large scale crisis of identity. She holds the identity of an African in an Anti-African world. Everything about who she is is despised by the people around her, enough so to hold them and their children captive for their entire lives. Her identity here is inescapable. The inherent definition of Linda as a person is the very same concept that keeps her from living a tolerable life. -Josh Zimmer
Looking back on The Algerine Captive, identity is actually a large underlying theme. Updike identifies as a Christian and it is clear that even with the promise of a reprieve from the slavery in which he is bound, he would not give up this crucial part of his identity. He is encouraged to convert to Islam, and if he does he would almost certainly be freed and be able to live a luxurious life. However, Updike refuses this offer, because though he is willing to listen to the reasoning of another claiming his beliefs are false, he believes in them so strongly that they act as a facet of his identity. To give up Christianity would be to give up an important part of himself. Arosett1 16:12, 18 October 2009 (EDT)
Identity plays pivotal role in Cisnero's novel, Woman Hollering Creek. Here, a woman is taken advantage of during an tumultuous period of her life. Looking to leave the boring confines of her previous life, the new American influences combat with intrinsic Mexican heritage of our protagonist. It is this time that she endures heavy abuse from the man who was supposed to grant her a new life. Her identity as a Mexican woman almost makes good men seemingly out of her reach, thus positioning her perfectly for the abuse she endures. "Not a man exists who hasn't disappointed me, whom I could trust to love the way I've loved... Better to not marry than to live a lie. Mexican men, forget it." (69) -Josh Zimmer 11/15
In Louise Erdrich's Novel, Tracks,identity can easily be see through Fleur's attitude about her nationality. This refers to racial identity, but more specifically, identity in relation to nationality. "You'll Fade out there...You won't be an Indian once you return." (14) "I wanted to be like my mother, who showed her half white. I wanted to be like my Grandfather, pure Canadian." (14). These passages clearly show the dilemma taking place in Fleur's mind. She wants to disown her natural state of being, the identity she was born with. She wished she to be made of a different identity. This is an identity conflict commonly seen throughout literature as an underlying theme. Crisis with something so permanent is common. -Josh Zimmer 12/10