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Essay Of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley And City Of Glass

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To paraphrase the great William Shakespeare, it is imperative that no matter what life may bring, you must stay true to yourself. After all, with billions of people around the world living their lives, only you can be your self to its full capacity. However, what happens when one does not want to be themself? What happens when the appeal of living someone else’s life becomes so strong that you would give up everything to live it instead of your own? To what extent does one’s own identity play a role in their life? These issues are featured in both Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley and Paul Auster’s City of Glass. While each of the protagonists, as well as several other characters in the case of Auster’s novel, take on…show more content…
He’s a sissy from the ground up. Just like his father!’ It was a wonder he had emerged from such a treatment as well as he had" (Highsmith 40). Quinn lives a similarly dull life, using his character Max Work, as well as a nom de plume, as an escape from his own reality and to remain anonymous in his work. He has also experienced great tragedy, suffering from the loss of his family and therefore losing a sense of his own identity. Even Peter Stillman Jr. notes this, saying, “My real name is Mr. Sad. What is your name, Mr. Auster? Perhaps you are the real Mr. Sad, and I am no one” (Auster 16). It is clear that Quinn becomes lost in his various identities, struggling to cope with grief and grasping at his characters for some sort of purpose. Although Tom hates having to switch back to his own identity, or “Tom”, he still manages to do so effectively and quickly as needed. This is an interesting characteristic of Tom, as he is incredibly adaptive and able to change as the circumstances around him do. As written in a review article on Postmodern Mystery, “[Tom’s] personality is so empty that its contours and content change with his surroundings. … Ripley also takes on the mannerisms, the speech inflections, the hobbies, the wardrobe, the very facial expressions of his victim” (Gioia). It is also clear that Tom not only tolerates his need to perform as Dickie but in fact enjoys the whole act
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