Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Long Shadow of Society: How the Struggle Between Societal and Individual Self Leads to Loss of Identity

          The protagonist of Jasmine is in a constant state of flux because she never stops to develop the self as she feel the weight of Society's shadow forcing her to prioritize duty over identity.  This is true from the chronological beginning to the end, starting with her education.  Education is an amazing tool for development of self as it exposes you to many fields of interest through communicable experience, but only if you take the time to introspectively reflect and find the self through that which is not self.  She instead simply absorbs life like a sponge and never squeezes out the excess.  She instead seeks to define self through how other define her, again without her own reflection and consent, as we see with the constant shift of name.  Instead of her naming herself, or upholding the name she was given at birth, she flows with how others define her; Jasmine, Jazzy, Jane, etc.  This has her in constant flux as she has no base to come back to, no self, so she is swept up by the current of life.  At the very end is when we finally see that she understands the state of things and looks to define the self.  She references back to the astronomer told her she would be a widower and exiled, again being defined by others,  but now she says she will re-position the stars, thus finally having an active, and not passive, impact on her own life.  This speaks to the idea of inner homeland not in the way any others have spoke about it before, as even Rushdie took culture and ethnicity as a major part of inner homeland, because the author talks about self as homeland.  Experiences are of course needed to understand self, like culture, but ultimately they are simply a lens used to view self and they do not define what self is, we are the only ones who can truly affect the self homeland, we are the only ones who can position our stars.

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