Identity that Kills - 1 Eng 226 First Position Paper...

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1 Eng 226 First Position Paper Identity that Kills In “The Little Convent Girl” and “The Contraband,” the identity of the little convent girl and Bob reflect the cultural context in which they are socialized. Though both characters are from marriage of a white man and a black woman, the little convent girl beliefs she is white while Bob has internalized a subservient role in society as a black. The manner of their conduct while interacting with other members of both races shows how they are affected by their identities. In addition, racism is the cause of the identity crisis that the two suffer. It becomes very hard for the characters to overcome their set identities, leading to their deaths. By reflecting upon the identities, the expression of identities, impact of racism, insurmountability of the identity and the high price at which one could escape it, it becomes obvious that the cultural roles of the little convent girl and Bob are exposed to and shapes their identities and determines their reactions to life events. The shaping of the identities of the two occurs early in their lives. The little convent girl lives in a convent for 12 years after being separated from her black mother at infancy. The culture of her white father and the white sisters with whom she had stayed for most of her life made her internalize the white identity. "The father had brought her to Cincinnati, and placed her in the convent. There she had been for twelve years, only going to her father for vacations and holidays" (King, 202). She conducts herself in the manner of a well bred white girl, the manners she had learned in the convent. The way she presents herself to the public is different from the way other people in the boat do. For instance, she does not make any initial step in anything unless she is directed while the other people are aggressive and insolent. On his part, Bob had been raised by his white master and father, being of a black slave. He had not been able to
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2 identify with either the black community nor had he been accepted into the white community. Alcott notes that "like the bat in Aesop’s fable, he belonged to neither race; nor the pride of one,
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Identity that Kills - 1 Eng 226 First Position Paper...

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