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Identity Essay

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IDENTITY 'I am an American, not an Asian-American. My rejection of hyphenation has been called race treachery, but it is really a demand that America deliver the promises of its dream to all its citizens equally.' What is identity? Many of us would think that the answer to this question is simple but once placed on the stop and asked to answer it, the answer creates more of an issue than the question. Identity can be defined in many different ways and there is more than one identity. The most obvious of these is an individual identity, regarding one person and their ability to establish their identity and locate themselves. There are also social identities, and collective identities. Usually identity is to do with ideas that are derived from society and often requires some reflexivity as it is to do with being a social being part of a society. It is mostly acquired through social interaction and the meanings we decide of social positions and is often marked through symbols. Identity is all about similarities and differences. ...read more.


It seems that a woman's identity was set by the identity (or status) of her father, or after marriage; her husband. Mukherjee also states 'I was who I was because I was Dr. Sudhir Lal Mukherjee's daughter'. It should also be noted that Mukherjee chooses to use the word 'was' rather than 'am'. This suggests that she has in a way cut off ties with her previous identity. She now sees her main identity as being American. Once in America, Mukherjee regarded herself as an Indian foreign student who intended to return to India to live. Her short and impulsive marriage ceremony led her into a whole new world regarding identities and their importance. She felt cut off from the ways of her life in Bengal as she had done something she never would have ever dreamed of doing. She now felt as if she had conflicting loyalties between two extremely different cultures. In America, women have more rights and participate in society just as much as men. This was new to Mukherjee as she now struggled to find her true identity; something she had never really paid attention to before. ...read more.


Agency is highly related to reflexivity; a post modern idea. Reflexivity is to do with the capacity of humans to reflect upon themselves, their actions and others around them in order to change or improve themselves. Mukherjee was brought up in an environment where the notion of agency in regards to identity did not exist. Identity was fixed, and one could not change it. Therefore, when she adopted her new found culture in America, she automatically was using agency to choose and shape her own identity. Identity is ever-changing; it changes with time, place and an individual's perception of reality (Vithu Jeyaloganathan - Sri Lankan born Canadian, b. 1991). An Indian politician and founder of the Indian Constitution ( B.R.Ambedkar) once said that 'Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man's life is independent. He is born not for the development of society alone, but for the development of his self.' This may be representative of India's changing views on the topic of identity and more importantly, individual identity. Word Count : 1, 167 words. ...read more.

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