Can a Child Know Their Identity?

Singer. Piano Player. Princess. Ice Skater. Basketball Star. Missionary. Elementary Teacher. These are all jobs that throughout my life I have at some point wanted to have. Growing up, I have questioned what I want to do with my life several times, and looking back I realize some things were not ideal (especially when you are a mediocre piano player, ice skater and terrible at basketball). This quest for what I want to do with my life was a part of me growing up and discovering my identity. The passage I chose for my blog post  is from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  It raises the question of whether a child can know his or her identity.


To give you some context for the passage I chose, Alice has just been awoken from her dream of Wonderland by her older sister. Realizing Wonderland was all a dream, she recounts her remarkable experience to her sister, and then Alice runs off. This leaves Alice’s sister thinking of the magic of Wonderland, and the wonder of dreams. The difference between Alice’s and her sister’s ideas of Wonderland was Alice’s sister knew that none of it was real when she was told the adventure.


The passage says: “Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”


This passage is the last sentence in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, yet it shows a view of Alice’s “identity shattering journey”  that is completely different from the rest of the book. When Alice tells her sister the dream, Alice thinks it is confounding, confusing and yet something incredible. Alice’s sister’s response is completely different though. Alice’s sister finds Alice’s dream as a strange tale from a simple child’s perspective. In this one sentence, Alice’s whole quest to discover her identity is completely undermined. Her sister imagines Alice growing up and just mystifying others with stories from her childhood. This diminishes Alice’s search for identity by making it sound like her thoughts were just simply crazy random thoughts that have no real meaning. At some point you have to grow up and then you will figure out your identity.


The question of can a child figure out their identity, has a suggested answer in this passage. No. The child cannot come to full  terms with their identity because they are still growing up to be the person they are meant to be and until they grow up they can not know what their identity truly is, and even then in my personal experience it can constantly change. As your life progresses you are constantly discovering more about you. So therefore Carol suggests in this sentence, you cannot understand your identity fully as a child. 

Although the last sentence of a book  is often overlooked if you spend time looking at it you can walk away with a different perspective from the book. This is why I chose this passage. It is important to take the time to read every part of the book including the last sentence.

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