COMMUNITY AND INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY
COMMUNITY AND INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY
Everyone starts off on a blank slate. People come into this earth and are presented by a series of choices which will define who they are, who they choose to become, and how the want to live their lives. The work of presents this phenomenon. After reading the article, one stop and mulls over some queries: at this point of my life have I made the right choices? Am I the way I am because at some point in my life, I have made the wrong choice? Life’s meaning is inevitably entangled with one’s memory. This is the context on which bestows its readers on her article “Silent Dancing.” The form of writing in which uses this kind of method; she takes on a subject and encapsulates it in a series of remembered events during her childhood. To a certain extent, the article presents a vital implication on how these memories are created. As presented by , the community molds one’s identity. The developments in life of and her mother essentially indicates that though it is important that one realizes the right choice, it is of equal importance that one lives up to that choice. This paper intends to discuss that idea of the individual’s choice of people who will surround him/her will eventually define his/her identity.
The article of is basically an account of the author’s life in Patterson as they left the island of Puerto Rico. “My memories of life in Paterson during those first few years are all in shades of gray.” This is what stated as she recalled her early years in the USA. However, as the story progressed, colors began to show. This took place with the help of the community. She becomes accustomed to the sights, sounds and even the smell in Patterson that it she considers it home. This feeling is far from being fiction for ordinary people. When imminent change is encountered, people have this tendency to recoil and refuse to accept what is about to happen. Change (aside from taxes), as the cliché goes, is the only permanent thing in this world. Normally, one fails to realize that growth could never take place unless change comes about. For some people it becomes worse because they refuse to break out from their current state, and in so doing refuses to grow. Possibly because of the convenience it offers. Possibly because of the fear of not knowing what is in store.
On the other hand, early on the article, indicated that her mother “was looking for sanctuary, and for a new start.” In its surface, it seems that the mother was merely seeking escape from the life she knew back in California. Cynically, that may be the case why she made a choice to start over in place far difference from what they once knew. Yet one must realize that the choice she made was not only for herself, she has a daughter who depended on her. Despite the hogwash of a life she is leaving behind, her search for refuge is not based on entirely selfish motives. The choice to go to far north as Alaska is her way of saving her daughter from all that California harm. Protecting someone important to us makes us decide in favor of choices that are not entirely the best for our own interest. Most of the time, we tend to sacrifice some personal things, me it material or otherwise, just to keep someone important to us out of harms way. Though it may not be as dramatic as driving across states, we do what we can to protect the people we love.
Her mother was the main factor that helped build the community for the . “El Building was a comfort to my mother, who never got over yearning for la isla.” Her constant attempt to relate everything around her to her barrio life was transmitted to the young . This is similar to the account of in her article “Independence Day, Manley Hot Springs, Alaska.” The feelings of fear held by the mother have been transmitted to the daughter. In the article of , the mother was the one who tried so hard to create and maintain a community familiar to her. On the case of , it is the daughter who created ties with the people around her, thus making her “one of them.” As with the life of young , this was “a defining moment” of ’s life. The choice made by the family patriarch led them into leaving their Native Puerto Rican barrio. The choices we make thus have implications not only to us but also to the people around us. Similar to the work of , showed that the decision people make generates changes in their lives. Be it positive or negative, one could never know unless one takes that first step.
For people encountering change, especially those experiencing similarly dramatic changes as that presented in the article of , building and seeking refuge to a community could be a suitable response. and hugely implied on their works that the identity of an individual is mold by one’s community. Young kids growing up exposed to violence and other spiteful social reality may end up living a live of violence. In the same way, children who grew up learning a particular culture will inevitably acquire such norms and values that they are exposed to, regardless on whether it conforms to what is generally accepted in society or not.
Simple things like showing up on time, doing your job, or even as mundane as stopping at a red light are choices people make everyday. While these may appear negligible to grand acts like joining the army or looking for our own Alaska, they are essentially the same. Whether they are right or wrong, it is important to actually make that choice and take responsibility on it. And by then we should take respite on the fact that these are choices that would make a difference, both on our own lives and with the rest of the world. In reality, the community one lives in and the people in it influences how a person views life. As seen in the work of , it is the people who you choose to surround yourself that will have an impact on one’s life. Regardless of the kind of neighborhood one lives in, be it a posh suburban community or in a derelict housing project, the values of the people and the inherent culture that subsist in it will define who you are. Sometimes we tend to confuse the place where we live with the community that surrounds us. It is the community around a person that will influence him/her, not the neighborhood, thus emphasizing that the individual’s choice of people who will surround him/her will eventually define his/her identity. It is easy to choose a place to live but choosing your community is far from being uncomplicated.
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