Analysis Of Lee 's Speech On Self Identity

1280 Words Oct 24th, 2016 6 Pages
Self identity is, perhaps, society 's most important component. It’s the element that differentiates each and every individual from a collective group to create diversity. In a metaphysical sense it answers the question “Who am I?” for each individual. Despite the fact that self identity is one of the building blocks of the human psyche, it is not permanent nor solid. Decreased social interaction and doubt of one’s role in society are two of the most common cases for a loss of self identity, while life milestones are the leading cause behind the fluidity of identities. Lee’s Native Speaker approaches changes in internal identity through character’s interaction with language in society. As I will demonstrate, Ahjumah and Pete Ichibata are cast as the primary devices to convey these transformations as one is near absent of language and the other is an artist with language. In other words, in Native Speaker, Chang-Rae Lee uses Ahjumah and Pete Ichibata to elucidate that language is the medium that establishes, destroys, and transcends people’s self identity in society. Ahjumah’s lack of interaction with languages leaves her absent of identity symbolizing the loss of self identity. Ahjumah’s lack of interaction with language is made apparent quite early in the novel when Henry begins recounting her description: he says, “she spoke only when it mattered” or when something “needed to be done, or requested, or acknowledged” (Lee 64). Lee is using Henry—and Ahjumah’s lack of…
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