Leading Yourself to Your Self

Leading Yourself to Your Self - Russell 1 Shayna Russell...

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Russell 1 Shayna Russell 18710646 Professor Marcial Gonzalez American Studies C111E 14 December 2009 Identity: Leading Yourself to Your Self It is not a radical or original idea that an environment can actively shape and mold. Water can be ice when it’s cold or steam when it’s hot. Similarly, a person is fashioned through a variety of external influences including, but not limited to, family, friends, religion and culture. It is in between the cracks and ambiguities of said institutions that one molds an identity. An identity fluctuates as you learn and grow; it is a constant metamorphosis for what works for you in that moment. In Farmworker’s Daughter: Growing up Mexican in America , Rosela exudes incredible personal strength against the powerful external forces in identity formation. The role players in the story of Rosela’s identity are her family, most importantly her mother and stepfather, the Mexican culture, which includes Catholicism, the American culture, which includes the ideas of materialism and friends, but most importantly the main character is Rosela, herself. As a child, surroundings are internalized up until a certain point; regular occurrences and statements are perceived as truth until the veil of world is removed and real truths exposed. With an exposed truth one can choose to see it how it is, or turn their eyes in the other direction, not wanting to negate the foundation of the self. “The self is not a
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Russell 2 passive entity, determined by external influences; in forging their self-identities, no matter how local their specific contexts of action, individuals contribute to and directly promote social influences that are global in their consequences and implications.” (Giddens) Rosela pieced together her identity from lessons her mother taught her, memories she holds onto, and proactive choices she made for herself; in forming her identity and relaying it into a well produced memoir, she effected her mother, stepfather, and the Chicano culture and beyond. Family is the impetus of identity formation. They are the first people you truly know. As a young child in Mexico, Rosela lived with her mother and her eternally absent father. Unhappy in her marriage, Rosela’s mother, María Louisa, found herself at a crossroads. María Louisa was encouraged from all sides to “endure whatever her marriage brought.” (18) Not only family and friends tried to coerce her into a life of passivity but the “The Catholic Church wanted families to stay together and considered divorce a […] sin. [Her] mother was a devout Catholic.” (12) Flexing her internal strength, Rosela’s first role model left her dead end life in Mexico in search of better opportunities for herself and her daughter. This strength was a quality that Rosela definitely incorporated into her own identity.
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This note was uploaded on 10/28/2010 for the course ANTHRO 2/AC taught by Professor Wilkes during the Spring '09 term at Berkeley.

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Leading Yourself to Your Self - Russell 1 Shayna Russell...

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