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Searching for Identity

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cam zam

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Searching for Identity

What is Identity? Using this novel, we could compare more then one character to Holden's situation of lacking identity.
1) Dunstan Ramsay:
-As most of you know Dunstan from Fifth Business is a successful man, yet an outsider on life, and so is Holden. He doesn't make relationships with others easily ,and lacks any real adult friendships, similar to Holden.
-Dunstan bases his life around other people, and lacks any knowledge of who he really is. He does not give himself the chance to find his own identity because of how enclosed he is.
-Similar to how Holden isolates himself. Both Dunstan and Holden avoid dealing with the problems going on in there lives (Mary Dempster and Aille).
-Both Dunstan and Holden let themselves stand in the way of finding out who they are by being, too hard on themselves and holding on to too much about others. Fifth Business Comparison: Searching for Identity Identity may be defined as distinctive characteristics belonging to any given individual. The characteristics are usually recognizable, or known. Ones identity is unique, and is held by no other person. Having an identity is a way to determine who you are as an individual. This can also be a reassurance of yourself, and what you stand for. To have a solid sense of identity you must understand ones self, including ones traits. As we grow up we find our true identities, and as we change it helps us identify our selves better. We live our whole lives searching for more pieces to our identities. Some have more trouble then others when it comes to understanding who they are. They go though the wrong path ways or refuse to grow. If they are lost trying to 'find themselves', and seek a negative identity, you have an "Identity Crisis". These people often have no idea who or what they are, where they are going, or where they want to go. Something is preventing them from finding themselves, and are lost searching for there identity. The Catcher in the Rye in comparison with Fifth Business Searching for Identity in 'The Catcher in the Rye': Character Summery: The main character, Holden Caulfield, is an adolescent who is struggling to find his own identity. He is somewhat of an outsider, trying to get his independence. In the novel he is having an 'identity crisis, rebelling against the adult world, in search for himself. He does not know who he is, or where he wants to go. He feels like everyone around him is a "phoney", but contradicts himself because he has no identity. His struggles with trying to find out who he is then lead to him living a lie. He rebels against the adult world by refusing to grow up yet, wants the independence of an adult. Holden moves from school, to school unable to handle the responsibilities of a teenager. When he gets expelled from his current school because his grades aren't to par, instead of facing the challenges of the real world, Holden retreats to this fantasy world he creates. He gallivants around New York City going to bars, and hotels, lying about his age, and turning to alcohol and cigarettes to solve his problems. Holden is constantly avoiding interaction with others, alienating himself, then seeks human affection. Holden acts very desperate, trying to understand society. He struggles to make connections with others so he turns to isolation. This resulting in his hardship with finding somewhere he belongs. He is very afraid of change which also lead to his problem of not having a true identity. Holden comes with a lot of baggage that could explain his struggle to find his identity. The main cause is the guilt he carries about his brother, Allie's, death. Holden gets very depressed when he talks about his brother, and almost feels guilty that he is alive, while his brother is dead. He has not been able to grasp his brothers death, or start to get over it. Another cause that has had an influence of Holden's identity crisis is the suicide of a boy at his former school. These problems are left unsolved, and leave Holden lost. Both of these incidents are vivid in Holden's mind, and cause him great grief. With the situations on his mind, plus not been able to over come them, led to him desperately searching for his identity. They have made it hard for Holden to move on, and face his responsibilities of growing up. Since he cannot move past this, he cannot take on these roles of growing up, therefore causing him more problems standing in the way of him from finding his identity. Sources of Holden's Identity Struggles: Result of Holden's Identity Struggles: 1. Negativity and Rebelling Against Adult World: Holden acts as if failing school is not his fault. He blames things on society, calling them all phoneys, and wants no part of it. He criticizes anything too typical, and passes judgement quite often. Yet in his search for identity he acts hypocritical by seeking adult independence. During this he does not want to follow any guide lines, and lies a lot; this is a reflection on his identity crisis. He acts out a lot in response of trying to find out who he is. Doing so, most of his actions are negative.

Quote: Spencer “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” Holden “Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.” Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right—I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.

The quote relates to this rebelling, and lies. He is specking with his old teacher, Spencer, that trys to give him some advice after hearing how he got kicked out of school. He tells him to play by the rules, and Holden responds by lying about what he thinks, as if he understanding him, but on the inside he disagrees and feels alone. 2. Fear of Change: Holden does not want to grow up and deal with the changes going on around him. This is one of the main reasons he is lost, searching for his true identity. He hasn't allowed change to happen, or let it develop himself into who he is meant to be. Holden hasn't been able to get past the traumatizing incidents in his life, and lets them drag him down. This fear of the unknown is why his identity is unknown. Instead Holden retreats to this imaginary world he creates in his mind.
The quote that resembles this is, when he is in the museum before his date with Sally.

Quote: "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different."The only thing that would be different would be you.

He is thinking about how he does not like change, confusion, or conflict. He loves the museum and how everything stays the same in it. This really shows his fear of growing up, and things changing around him. 3. Isolation and Lack of Human Contact: Holden is an outsider, with not many friends, or people he can rely on. Being sent away to school, not seeing his family must be difficult, and he does not adjust very well. He is very enclosed, and opens up to few people. This is because he struggles to make connections with society and others, so he turns to isolation. This is why he is having trouble finding out where he belongs; he doesn't know where he wants to go. His lack of companionship and communications are the main reasons for his isolation. He feels like no one understands him, this is why Holden has struggled so much. He has had no one to rely on, or experience good things with. This is why he is so desperate for human companionship, and results in him still unsure of his identity.

Quote:"Well – take me to the Edmont then," I said. "Would you care to stop on the way and join me for a cocktail? On me, I'm loaded."

This quote displays Holden's isolation, and how he is so desperate to talk to someone. He asks the cab driver to join him because he has no one else he could possibly turn to. 4. Depression: Holden's problems all come back to his sadness and loneliness. Everything around him makes him depressed, few things don't make him feel sad or alone. Holden finds people, change, and life depressing. We noticed his depression, the more he talked about his thoughts of death, suicide, and being alone. His fear in change, and lack of human contact are a result of the depression he is going through. He is very disconnected with reality and h society. He wants to preserve his childhood and innocents because everything about growing up depresses him. His depression is the reason why he has not been able to see the positive light to life, which is why his identity is so blurry to him. He feels so alone, and can't figure out who he is.
A quote that relates to this is when Holden has suicide thoughts:

Quote: "I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would’ve, too, if I’d been sure somebody’d cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn’t want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory."

This quote displays how depressed Holden really is and how desperate he is becoming. This shows his depression and also how he wants to preserve his childhood. This is showing his sadness and how he does not feel connected to society at all. 2) Paul Dempster:
-Paul gets made fun of as a child because of his mother and one day runs away from home to join the circus. Paul runs away from his problems like Holden runs away when getting kicked out of school.
-They both are similar because they go through identity crisis because of lacking human contact. They are both outsiders, that don't fit into society.
-Paul is very independent and not close to family, and Holden is searching for independence and forced to be away from his family.
-Both characters are looking for there identity, but live lies along the way. Paul lies about his life in his book, changes his name and has a fake identity. He doesn't truly know who he is because he never got the chance to figure it out. Holden lives lies as well, he lies about his age, and to some, about who he really is. By both telling these lies about themselves, they take over fake identities and do not learn who they really are. 3) Mary Dempster: is a misunderstood women, that got ridiculed by everyone in the town, and then was in a bad mental state. Mary relates to Holden by having in a bad mental state and being misunderstood.
-Mary is isolated from society by her husband, and Holden feels isolated by society because he has no real relationships. Both affecting there identity because it caused them into there mental state, unable to find themselves.
-There illnesses affect them trying to find who they really are, true identity and stand in the way of there potentials.
-Both are unable to find there true identity because they have something they cant take control of in the way of them.
(Holden's depression) /(Mary's illness) In Conclusion... Holden, and the characters from Fifth Business all relate together when it comes to their identities. Both books shows how the characters are trying to find themselves, but have many reasons, that relate, for their struggles that keep them from their true identity.
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