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Writing Identity

Brown, Bassett, and Benjamin
  • Is our identity how we perceive ourselves? Or how others perceive us?
  • Do our choices define our identity? Or does our identity define our choices?
  • If you are conscious of your identity and attempt to change it, what is your true identity? The change that you are trying to make? Or who you are naturally?
  • How do stories, myths, and imagination affect our identities? These are often unreal, but does that diminish or invalidate any aspect of identity influenced by these factors?
  • How much of our identity is based on a core being? Is there a core identity?
  • What effect does displacement from the culture a person grew up in have on their identity?
  • How much of our identity is predetermined and how much of it is out of our control? Are we born with an identity?
  • How does someone’s identity change/develop over time?
  • How do external factors (race, gender, culture, wealth) impact our identity? How much does the way other people view us play a role in who we are?
  • Why can't we be consistent people?
  • How much of your identity is decided before you were born?
  • Are we ever really free to develop our own identities untouched or unforced by external factors, and is it useful or even possible to try and resist external influences?
  • Are adopted children's identities a combination of the society they grew up and were born in (nature v. nurture)?
  • Can multiple identities exist in one person?
  • What are the differences and connections between identity and personality?
  • Can you ever truly and completely lose aspects of your identity?
  • Is identity more about how the world sees us or how we see ourselves? How do we distinguish between the two? 
  • Is it more beneficial or detrimental to define one’s identity?
  • Should there be a definitive definition of identity?
  • How do experiences influence identity differently than memories?
  • Which category has the biggest weight on construction of identity?
  • Is the weight of our identity based in social perceptions or do we have more control and direction over it? (Double consciousness)
  • How can the author differentiate between and balance individual and collective identity in their writing, for example, in ...And The Earth Did Not Devour Him and The Lonely Londoners?
  • How do authors take on recognizing both individual and collective identity without merging them? For example, in The Woman Warrior how does Kingston separate the influence of her family and society on her own identity without creating a double consciousness in her character?
  • How can the reader differentiate individual and collective identity in a character when the character cannot differentiate between their own identities themselves?
  • In reading the assigned texts for the semester so far, we realized culture/race/ethnicity is a really big part of defining someone's identity and considering culture/race/ethnicity could also be considered a social construct like gender and sexuality, why is it so heavily used to identify people?
  • Reading the different author's perspectives on identity, is there a possibility that a true definition consisting of all their perceptions on identity can be made?
  • How can identity be used to be applicable to everybody?
  • Why is there a need to identify people?
  • What plays a larger role in the formation of identity: individual or collective/cultural identity?
  • Is our identity impacted more by our perceptions of our personal experiences or others perceptions of us?
  • Do you think that experiences build upon our identity or expose a quality we already had?
  • Why does identity matter?
  • How does time (both time period and time passing) affect a person’s identity?
  • How is one’s identity shown through one’s actions? 
  • What is the difference between the identity you truly resonate with and what identity you present to the world? 
  • Are people able to separate the stereotype of someone’s identity from what their actual identity is?
  • To what extent does one selectively incorporate the external (societal norms, etc) into their personal identity? How do we go about the process of selective incorporation?
  • What is the value of having a consistent core identity? To what extent do external factors influence our core identity and what are those factors?