Unique but Common

Have you ever looked back on time and wonder where it could have possibly gone? As Christmas and New Years I find myself staring at the Christmas lights pondering where time has gone. So much has happened over the past year, and I have no idea how to explain it all. I am sure years down the road I will be able to look back at this time in my life and in depth explain what every important moment is truly about, but at this point in time I can’t completely wrap my head around it.

As I look back on this semester in English 203 Fluid Readers and Texts, I realize that there is one common idea that I repeatedly took away from discussions, blog posts, and the readings that we did for this class. That idea is the theory of everything having a unique identity.

We read Alice in Wonderland and we discussed Alice’s quest to discover her identity. This is something she struggled with because she felt she was constantly changing. In her conversation with the Caterpillar, Alice explained when asked who she was “I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” (Chapter 5).

This quote was discussed several times in class, and discussed in a few blog posts. As Adriana put it in her blog post the idea that identity is simple is not the case, “rather its a reaction to events and experiences. Reactions define who we are, our reactions to experiences come from within, and represent our identity.” I completely agree with this point. In fact I even wrote an extra credit blog post on the idea that identity is about where you come from and future plans. Although identity is also partly made from the culture of our home. It is very complicated.

After I wrote  this extra credit blog post Professor Schacht recommended to me looking back in the essay “The Virtues, the Unity of a Human Life and the
Concept of a Tradition” by Alasdair MacIntyre which we read before we read Alice in Wonderland and see how how it relates to my extra credit blog post. I decided to take a look. In this essay MacIntyre claims that identity is essentially a narrative process. MacIntyre says that life “could be more than a sequence of individual actions and episodes”. It could flow together as a story that starts with where I came from and ends where I wind up.

When reflecting back on the idea of identity, I also reflected on how Scrooge in A Christmas Carol changed his life around based on realizing who he had become and that he didn’t want to live that way. He had built for himself this identity of being a heartless cruel individual, yet after the ghosts visited him he dramatically changed his identity. This relates to the idea that individuals identity is constantly changing be it when they are a child like Alice, or an adult like Scrooge.

But is there a part of our identity that is the same as everyone else’s? In class one day Tommy brought up the question of whether or not there is such thing as unique literature and in an extra credit blog post, I explained how one writer Foster feels that no literature is completely unique. In order for an author to write a book they must “try to clear their mind of all other literature to not focus on writing something completely different”.  There is a common thread in literature because there is a commonality in all humans.

This commonality was shown through DNA and genetics in my biology class, studying different cultures in Anthropology, and studying literature in English. Humans have these innate characteristics that are the same. We all share the identity of being a human, yet there are characteristics that make us unique.

Looking at the idea of identity enabled me to practice literary criticism by constantly trying to see it in works of literature and even other classes. I was able to work on my ability to link a common thread throughout not only one book, but multiple different works of literature. All works of literature seem to try to build up characters identity and a good writer does this well. When looking back upon this semester in English 203 this is the main idea that I learned and will take with me when I read literature in the future.

One Reply to “Unique but Common”

  1. Your post is very “fluid”, which is a good word for this course do describe your post. I like the notion of identity that you use throughout the post. Your citing of previous blogposts either of your own or of others really links the whole concept together and gives your readers a better understanding. We’ve seen identity in more than one of the stories that we have read and you have done a great job in citing those. Just little grammatical errors while looking at the post, but other than that, great job Alexandra!

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