I was talking with Jenny and it struck me how alike my papers all throughout college thus far have been.
The first one I wrote was on John Locke’s theory of personal identity. It was my first paper in more years than I can really count, and I actually wrote it while using my grandfather as a reference. An amateurish paper, certainly, and I’ll probably cringe when I read it again. Locke’s theory is that identity is merely a sum of all experience. My conclusion as to my grandfather’s identity was that, when he could remember memories, he was my grandfather. When he could not, when the dementia was flaring up (or whatever dementia does), he was not.
Even in my first feeble attempts, I was attempting to negotiate identity.
Since then I’ve written on Chekhovian romance and the phrase “in that moment, he has rewritten his entire emotional resume” still is the one thing I remember most about that paper. I’ve written about female Harley riders in the 1920’s riding cross country and not staying at home in the kitchen. I’ve written on Hippolyta’s assertion of resistance and Titania’s inability to do so. I’ve written on what I thought was sexual dysfunction in On Chesil Beach and turned out to be identity constructions based on past experiences. I’ve even written on white identity as a negation of black presence in Baldwin’s story.
Not all directly relate to me personally, but they’re all hovering around this idea of identity. Trying to define it, trying to construct it, deconstruct it, figure out how elements of things all fit together.
Even the postmodern thing is identity related: Is The Dodecahedron in fact postmodern, but, more importantly, is it honestly so?
I’ve written, I’ve written, I’ve written.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not just identity which fascinates me, but honest identity. A merging of W.E.B. DuBois’ “double-consciousness” into one true, authentic, and honest identity.
And that’s far more intimidating than the four papers and three finals I have next week.