In the society, various things help us in relating to one another. One of them is identity where people classify themselves depending on who they are. The community is capable of educating an individual on specific things like where one came from, who are his ancestors and how people perceive him or her. There people who struggle with realizing their identity because their parents do not help usher them to their specific culture. However, the society where one is brought depends on the personality that he or she is going to acquire. There is a certain age where one reaches and reality kicks in, and you realize that I have some differences. There cases where people realize as they grow that they have some attributes, powers or physical qualities that are entirely different from the other societal members.
For example in the religious communities where people believe in superpowers, there might be people with these powers, and they double up as everyday human beings. Also, there people who move to new places and they settle there. As a result, interracial marriages might take place and children born out of such relationship are different. When such children are young, they might not note that they are entirely different, but when they attain a certain age, they will try to reconcile with their identity. Therefore, Identity can be self-imposed or self-realized. When the person has certain physical features or characteristics that may cause others to distinguish them by; people try to conform to that identity or repel it completely, defined by experience. This paper will give examples from Gilgamesh and There There by Tommy Orange texts to support the argument.
The Epic of Gilgamesh gives a view of culture and how a community undergoes through civilization. The author shows the positive and negative attributes of civilization. There are several characters who happens to be in the process of self-realization, and they learn about features about features that distinguish them from others. The first character is Gilgamesh who is arrogant and tyrannical. The author gives him these traits to show the effects of self-realization. Gilgamesh is at the top of the human ladder socially, and that is why he is proud. He has access to all the treasures and the riches in that society. It is through the process of searching for information to understand more about mortality. He learns that he is half human and half a god.
At first, this characteristic disturbs him, and he feels that he should try as much as possible to get out of it. However, he sees an opportunity in it, and that is why he works to conform to his nature. The process of complying comes along with all these negative traits. In society, when people are in the process of identity search, they may turn out to be good or evil characters. That is the case with Gilgamesh, his heroism is seen in his actions. The author aims at educating the reader on how the people realize their differences. It cannot happen without interacting with other people and even traveling. Identity realization is always part of civilization where one learns all the facts about his or her nature. It depends on the level of enlightenment when it comes to embracing it or repelling it completely.
The other character who is in a dilemma while searching his identity is Engidu who is created by the gods to neutralize Gilgamesh. However, it takes time before he realizes his purpose and that is why he spends a lot of time back in the forest with the animals. He does not understand why he was created by and the reason behind it. That is why Gilgamesh takes advantage due to his ignorance, and he lures him to his world. Gilgamesh is wise because he has a large percentage of God’s nature and that is why sends the hunter who reported the existence of Engidu with a priest to come with him. Engidu does not understand the human world at all; it is strange to him. Through the process of civilization, Engidu decides to leave his former identity when he realizes who he was. He joins the world of humans, and he starts to behave like them.
In the text There There, a lot of conflicts is seen when people decide to conform to their identity. Some don’t even know how to make decisions, and that is why they end up in a side that they do not wish to be for the rest of their lives. There is an American character in the text which makes a bad decision of staying with an abusive partner. These are people who are half Indian and half White as that is why they always find themselves with hard decisions to make in life. Thomas is the other character who has some drinking habits, and he has lost his job. Born from a White mother and an Indian, he has a lot of problems relating with people in the society. That is why he breaks to these bad habits which cost his life. He is in the process of making a decision, but the author leaves him at an indecisive state.
The most important thing is that the author present to the reader a young character who represents the younger generation and has already realized his identity and he is more than ready to conform to it. Orvil Red Feather is a bold character who understands the need to own a culture. He is a teenager, and he decides to make a move of earning how to be an Indian. He is in a foreign country, and the only thing he can learn is the foreign culture. However, he has realized he is different, and he should embrace his real culture. That is why he takes a bold step to learn how to be an Indian through google. He has taught himself several dances which he will perform to the people.
In a nutshell, the two texts have a character who is running away from their identity after they realize who they are and there are those who have conformed to the new change. When you accept who you are, you will have peace of mind, and that is why we see several characters in There There living a good life. Conversely, there are those characters who decide to repel from their identity, and it has adverse effects on them. For instance, Tony Loneman and Octavio Gomez struggle with alcohol-related problems because they are running away from their status which is the cause of the stress and trauma that they undergo.
- Gilgamesh, Mesopotamian Mythology. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Gilgamesh (Oct 2018)
- Guide to the classics: the Epic of Gilgamesh (2017). http://theconversation.com/guide-to-the-classics-the-epic-of-gilgamesh-73444 (Oct 2018)
- Rowan Hisayo (2018) There There by Tommy Orange review – Native American stories. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/18/there-there-tommy-orange-review (Oct 2018)
- Tommy Orange. There There. https://birchbarkbooks.com/all-online-titles/there-there (Oct 2018)