Are you being your true self?

Are you being your true self?
📌Category: Identity, Sociology
📌Words: 1240
📌Pages: 5
📌Published: 14 March 2021

An identity distinguishes who you are as an individual. A Person's identity is formed by many factors: Friends, Family, interest, environment, culture, and lots more. Some variables may have a much bigger influence, while others might not have an impression in the slightest degree. 

As a person grows older, they face many challenges that may have a bearing on their identity.

In the story, “Apollo” Okenwa- the main character- experiences a flashback in which he experiences an identity-defining moment. This event becomes an identity-defining moment for Okenwa because he regrets the decision he made at that point as an adult. Okenwa reflects on his choice and expresses wishing to alter his decision; therefore, the author making the story out of this flashback shows the importance of this event in his life. Correspondingly, in the story “Interpreter of maladies” the character Mr. Kapasi -a tour guide- is attempting to find his wife’s approval. Mr. and Mrs. Kapasi lost a baby which has resulted in them not getting along anymore. Mr. Kapasi never has received approval from his wife or anyone near him, but that changes when he meets Mrs. Das who he's giving a tour. Therefore, Everyone has their own identity, which is affected by obstacles they face; but, the hunger for endorsement leads them to try to satisfy this endorsement during which there is a loss of identity when they make decisions that are geared toward attempting to please others rather than being true to who they are.

The constant search for endorsement often leads to the loss of identity, as people are more concerned with pleasing others than with remembering true to themselves. In the short story “Apollo” the main character Okenwa is faced with a conflict: choosing to remain true to himself or to please his parents. In the story, Adichie mentioned, “I worried too, that I did not care for books. Reading did not to me what it did to my parents, agitating them or turning them into vague beings lost to time, who did not quite notice when I came and went, I read books only enough to satisfy them” (Adichie 440.) Here, we see Okenwa clarifying how he went through his days pursuing books as it was to “satisfy” his parents. The tone that the author expresses here shows Okenwa doesn't feel most positively towards reading books, but he was willing to read to please his parents. Further, into the story, Okenwa mentioned what he truly did love was Kung Fu not reading, but he failed to show that side of his identity because he wanted to please his parents. Furthermore, while Okenwa watched Raphael -the houseboy, but soon became Raphael’s best-friend the author mentioned, “He pivoted slightly, leaped up, and kicked his leg straight and high, his body all taut grace. I was twelve years old and had, until then, never felt that I recognized myself in another person” (Adichie 440.) In this scene, Okenwa realizes the houseboy and him have something in common with his identity, which has never happened with his parents. Further into the story, Raphael gets sick, but Okenwa still sees him behind his parent’s back because Raphael was special to him. However, when Okenwa gets sick Raphael  does not go to see him, which makes Okenwa angry. Okenwa decides to go confront Raphael and finds him with a girl who is flirting with him- leaving Okenwa with jealousy. Okenwa realized Raphael put the girl before him. Okenwa then goes up to him and falls on the ground at the same time his father gets there. Here is where Okenwa is presented with a dilemma: telling his parents the reality or lie so he won’t get in trouble. Ultimately, Okenwa decided to lie which can hurt him in the future. Okenwa deciding to lie ends up in a loss of identity. Okenwa suffers from a loss of his identity because he doesn't follow his true self who features a strong reference to Raphael, Okenwa knows that he is often his true self with Raphael, but pleasing his parents was more important at the time. At the end of the story, Adichie mentioned, “I could have cut into that silence. I could have said that it was an accident. I could have taken back my lie and left my parents merely to wonder” (Adichie 444.) Here, we see Okenwa reflect on things when he's older. Okenwa expresses the fact that he would have liked to take back this lie and remain faithful to himself rather than telling what he knew would please his parents. This all ties back to the fact that Okenwa’s actions were influenced by his desire for endorsement, which causes him to lie and not stick with his true self.

Furthermore, the steady rummage around for support frequently leads to the misfortune of character, as individuals are more concerned with satisfying others than with recollecting genuine to themselves. Within the story, “Interpreter of maladies” Mr. Kapasi and his wife lose a baby which is difficult for him, but on top of that, he never feels approved by his wife. Mr. Kapasi is a tour guide aside from being an interpreter where he meets the Das family. Author Lahari mentioned, “Mr. Kapasi knew that his wife had little regard for his career as an interpreter” (Lahari 316.) Here, we see Mr. Kapasi explicitly explain how his wife thought little about his career. This made Mr. Kapasi feel belittled since he wasn't receiving any acceptance for his job; however, this all changes when he realizes that he's getting the endorsement for his job from Mrs. Das. When Mr. Kapasi was talking to Mrs. Das about his job, author Lahari mentioned, “For this reason, it flattered Mr. Kapasi that Mrs. Das was so intrigued by his job. Unlike his wife, she had reminded him of its intellectual challenges” ( Lahari 316.) Here, we see the author's diction when using “flattered” and “intrigued” to explain how Mr. Kapasi felt when Mrs. Das showed interest in his job. Mr. Kapasi getting endorsement led to a change in his actions. Mr. Kapasi decides to pursue Mrs. Das because he believes that Mrs. Das and he were creating an intimate relationship resulting in him being willing to take immoral actions. Author Lahari mentioned, “The paper curled as Mr. Kapasi wrote his address in clear, careful letters. She would write to him, asking about his day interpreting at the doctor's office, and he would respond eloquently, choosing only the most entertaining anecdotes... In time she would reveal the disappointment of her marriage and he his. In this way their friendship would grow, and flourish (Lahari 317.) Here, we get to see Mr. Kapasi is already making plans for the future for them and believes they will eventually grow and flourish together. Mr. Kapasi is still married and never implies leaving his wife, so he would be willing to talk to Mrs. Das behind his wife's back which is an immoral action. Moreover, Kapasi ultimately finds out Mrs. Das did not want an intimate relationship,  which makes him feel bad. Mr. Kapasi thinking Mrs. Das was flirting with him caused him to make up a fake world in which they would be together. Mr. Kapasi making up a fake world together ultimately causes him to lose himself because it is a one-sided relationship. Ultimately, Mr. Kapasi’s -immoral- actions were geared to the fact that he received approval.

To conclude, everyone has their identity, which is affected by obstacles they face; but, the desire for endorsement leads them to try and fulfill this endorsement for the duration of which there may be a lack of identity once they make decisions that are geared on trying to please others in preference to being genuine to who they are. This is important because we should be normalized to be different and to not have to crave approval to be ourselves. People should be themselves and not have to receive an endorsement from society to feel happy with themselves and what they are doing.


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