Paper 2 - Through the Looking Glass Defining Identity...

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Through the Looking Glass: Defining Identity Through the Other in “Orbiting” Identities are shaped by life experiences, through trials and tribulations, and defined by the way other people view the person. In the story, “Orbiting” by Bharati Mukherjee, the different characters try to define themselves through a certain image they project on to other people, especially those of another racial or ethnic group. By creating such an image, or at least attempting to, the individual characters try to gain a better understanding about their lives by “fitting in” or gaining a sense of purpose in their mundane lives. The use of the Other is not limited to the Asian population. Even in the same country, people from different locations can be categorized and generalized to accentuate certain characteristics about each group. The father mentions that “grumbling and scolding” is the “North Italian way” of expressing love while “Sicilians and Calabrians are emotional.” The narrator then goes on to say that “ we’re contained” referring to herself and her father while the mother is left out of the group as a Calabrian. Though the family is by blood completely Italian, even sectional differences define each person through the characteristics of that group.
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