You Are Who You Pretend To Be

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I recently was introduced to a Kurt Vonnegut quote by a friend. It was mentioned only in passing and was likely meant only to carry the conversation on, but I have come back to it many times in my thoughts. The quotation was a warning: “Be careful who you pretend to be because you are who you pretend to be”. The truth behind this sentiment is far more pertinent to our lives than we might like to think. We all have visions of who we are based on what we know, how we compare ourselves to others, and how we attempt to act, but the actuality of who we are exists independently of that personal ideal. The truth of the matter is that, regardless of our apparent individuality, the way we act around others, how we dress and talk, and our general…show more content…
When we actively pursue our desires, we take on traits favorable to the completion of our goals. The assimilation of those traits into our personality may be little more than a result of repetition, but they become a basis upon which our identity might change or, more consequentially, be judged.
This idea of the formulation of identity is not unfounded, and, although not overtly present in literature, can be witnessed in certain characters just as in the real world. In order to keep this essay at least somewhat on topic with the class, I would like to relate this idea to at least some works which we have read. To observe such formulations of identity in literature, it is usually unwise to look at the main character. Although that is the main place to find character development, it wouldn’t be a good novel if the character were to constantly change his ideas and behaviors.
The first character who I believe shows just how this idea of identity holds true is the ever despised Arthur Chillingworth. The very nature of his character is action. Though he is not a character who we see as active physically in obtaining his goals, without his drive for revenge on Hester and Dimmesdale he would not be noteworthy at all. Unless he was a peculiar individual in his life before the story of the scarlet letter, it could be assumed that he was not previously driven by revenge. It is understandable, then, to look at him as an individual
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