I remember vaguely from five months ago, sitting next to my adviser and picking classes. When discussing the required classes for my major, she firstly offered up “Reader and Text”. I remember asking her what the course entailed and after reading the description, still clueless as to the meaning behind “fluid readers and text” was, she offered little to no help on demystifying the course’s entails. When entering the class, the first assignment we received was to analyze the reader in the painting Young Girl Reading, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. For the first time in my scholastic career, I was asked to analyze the anonymous “reader” behind the book. Over these fifteen weeks, the importance of the fluidity of readers became more and more obvious. It is important to have fluidity in a reader, for if not, the puzzle pieces of the narrative may go undetected. Even in class, the witness of how each person interprets a plot, or character decisions, and how a work affects someone is individual to each one of my peers. Continue reading “A Reflection Post on Reflection”
The ambiguity of identity is what makes it so convoluted in formulating a direct definition to encapsulate it’s core idea. The direct definition of identity is ‘the fact of being who or what a person or thing is’. However, that interpretation of identity leaves many blank spaces in the answer to our question; What actually is identity? Is it the state of being, or is it the narrative of being a physical entity. We are given the idea that a person or thing is tied to a singular identity, however, when we change those circumstances, does it retain its identity?
In class, we briefly discussed the issue of identity in defining a book and whether it is the narrative of the book, or its physicality, that represents that definition. In Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, questioning identity is a reoccurring and prominent theme. Multiple times, the story makes Alice and the reader question the reality of the situations. However, not all these questions of identity stem from Alice’s time in Wonderland. In the very beginning of the story, Alice and her sister were laying under a tree while Alice’s sister ‘read’ a book. “Once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversations?'”. The purpose of the ‘book’ is not the focus of this blog post, but rather the definition of such object as a book. Is the identity of the book validated by the physicality of the material its made of, or rather the narrative its meant to have?
The identity of the book in regards to the passage is ambiguous because of the lack of answer. the passage toys with the question because Alice leaves it open for interpretation. As we have seen from class, the answer to this is up to perspective. Many people may side with the physicality of the book as what defines its identity, while some may side with the narrative. However, maybe identity should stay ambiguous. Let it be what it is.
A few of my classmates have expressed their distaste for Thoreau’s “narcissism”, for establishing himself as a figure of elitism over his audience. Why do we get that message? Why not when we hear philosophers or politicians talk, do we fear the same demanding diction that we do with Thoreau? Throughout reading, I began to theorize the reasons as to why Thoreau might come off so strong, I then came across the reasoning that Thoreau simply does not fear ego. He blatantly states in ‘Economy’ paragraph 2 “In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference.” Continue reading “Ego”