Identity In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

881 Words 4 Pages
Charlotte Perkins Gilman once said “What we do modifies us more than what is done to us.” A person’s identity is shaped by many factors, including location. Where you are from and where you are now, plays an integral part of your identity. Due to judgements and social status in a particular location, one’s identity can be deeply affected by location. However, the way a person responds to the negative effects of society, truly shapes their identity.

In The Things They Carried by Tim O’brien, the characters’ circumstances forged them an identity. Fighting in a war, changes your outlook on life completely, and this has a major impact on your identity. In the novel, O’brien discusses how being in a war affected his identity. “ Sometimes I forgive myself, other
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The main character named Margaret was a colored-servant to Mrs. Viola Cullinan, who began calling her Mary. In society, Margaret would be considered the bottom of the social class. Using this to her advantage, Mrs. Viola Cullinan began calling Margaret a different name because her friend suggested it. “ Well, that may be, but the name’s too long. I’d never bother myself. I’d call her Mary if I was you” (Angelou 76). This shows an insight to Mrs. Viola Cullinan’s identity, because it shows how she does what people say, and goes along with it, even though she might not agree. However, Margaret was furious, because her identity is important to her. Even though she had a low status in society, she wasn’t going to allow someone change her identity and take a part of her. “ I picked up the casserole and two of the green glass cups in readiness. As she rounded the kitchen door I let them fall on the tiled floor” (Angelou 77). Margaret didn’t allow her status in society to affect her identity; and, this shows how the way you respond, to the effect a location/society has on you, shapes your

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