Non-Conformity: The Path To Double Identity By Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Good Essays

Non-Conformity: The Path to Individuality Our personal identities represent the culmination of our past, the influence of the present that we live in, and what we will be in the future. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, in the short story Double Identity, describes the evolution of her gender and racial identity in her youth and later life. She struggles to balance her female identity within Japanese and American societies, initially within her high school and college years and later during her marriage. Through her experience in school, she seeks harmony between her two identities by conforming to the cultural standards required by the situation at hand. As time passes, she decides that acting according to whichever racial identity she feels suits …show more content…

She was born in Inglewood, California, and spent her formative years there as well. She was interned in a camp in Owens Valley, California at the age of twelve, and her non-fiction memoir Farewell to Manzanar recounts her experiences within the internment camp. Seven years after the end of the second world war, Houston, as well as her family, relocated to San Jose, California, where Houston would go on to study at San Jose State University, where she pursued a degree in sociology. She met her husband, James Houston, during her time at San Jose State, and married him soon after. Double Identity depicts her evolving stance on race-based gender roles throughout her childhood and later relationship with James …show more content…

For example, in Self-Reliance, Emerson discusses the importance of an individual’s resistance to conforming to social norms. Listing the several benefits of non-conformity, he surmises that accepting public opinion as one’s own ultimately leads to the wasting of one’s life. He further stresses the importance of non-conformity through great figures such as Socrates, Jesus, Galileo, and Newton, all who were initially ridiculed for their innovative ideas and perspectives on the surrounding world. Furthermore, he notes that any apparent inconsistency will ultimately be consistency when examined on a life-long scale. All of the fluctuations, when viewed on a larger scale, will depict an average tendency. He concludes that our individual natures allow us to combat false consistency, as well as conformity, and allow us to become self-reliant--to be able to express autonomy over our individual

Get Access