Is Identity Manipulative? Analysis of Corliss and Harlan in Alexie Sherman's Search Engine

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Can identity be a sharp weapon to overcome restrictions and oppression. Jose Munoz, a former perfomance studies professor at NYU argued in his article "The White to Be Angry" that identity is manipulative. According to Munoz, the manipulation of identity is called disidenticaction. Instead of rejecting society or a group whole sale, someone who disidentifies accepts some aspects of that society or group without assimilating to the dominant ideals. People, especially in minority groups, developed disdentifciation as an offensive mechanism because it allowed them to function within that group or society without becoming trapped. Munoz's theory provides a powerful analytical lens which I will use to evaluate the characters Corliss and Harlan…show more content…
Since Corliss rarely found comfort from her family and friends, and never found it in God, but continued to want it and never stopped asking for it, then maybe she was also a Jesuit priest who found it in poetry." (pg. 14) "How could she tell the family that she didn't belong with them, that she was destined for something larger, that she believed she was supposed to be eccentric and powerful and all alone in the world?" (pg. 14-15) 2. Corliss rejects assimilation into the Indian culture because they have assimilated into white society. She portrays Indians as helpless when they stand in line and allow the government to document their entire lives. The Indians behavior is what Munoz would call identification because the Indians are under the state's control and ideal. Nor does Corliss agree with her father and uncle's attitude of letting the women fight their battles since it is a patriarchal society in America. She likes the fact they find her intelligent, yet do not see the value in poetry which she so loves. "She loved how they filled a room with their laughter and rank of male bodies and endless nostalgia and quick tempers, but she hated their individual fears and collective lack of ambition. They all worked blue-collar construction jobs, not because they loved the good work or found it valuable or rewarding, but because some teacher or guidance counselor told them

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