Struggle for Identity: Poems, Plays, and Novels.

A detailed mindmap consisting of 4 possible struggles for identity with examples of plays, poems, and novels for each with a quick analysis.

  • Created by: MissGezky
  • Created on: 13-05-15 11:38
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  • Struggle for Identity in Modern Literature
    • Sexuality
      • PLAY: Bent by Martin Sherman or A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, as they both explore the theme of homosexuality with the protagonist of Bent and Blanche's ex-husband.
        • BENT: The protagonist Max is forced to have intercourse with a young girl to "prove that he is straight" - he does this, demonstrating his struggle for identity as a gay man in Nazi Germany, and how he faces serious and violent discrimination.
      • NOVEL: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, explores the protagonist's struggle as a lesbian in her religious community.
        • ORANGES: Jeanette doesn't understand why she should be seen as a sinner in the eyes of God "to the pure, all things are pure" which is taken from the Bible.
      • POEMS: White Writing by Carol Ann Duffy. The poet herself is a lesbian and so she explores how homosexuals are discriminated against in society.
        • WHITE WRITING: Duffy explores how the narrator cannot express her love for what we assume is her girlfriend in the poem, she instead must "write it white", as is repeated throughout the poem. As well as this it is not revealed that she is referring to a woman until it mentions "skirts".
    • Religion
      • PLAYS: The Crucible, where religion causes mass panic and chaos as women are accused of being witches, religion is intensely strict in the Puritan village.
        • THE CRUCIBLE: The accusation of John Proctor's wife is foreshadowed when he is asked to recite the Ten Commandments, and he falters over the commandment which prohibits adultery.
      • NOVEL: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit or A Thousand Splendid Suns would be good novels for this as the both explore the impact of religion on identity, particularly Oranges.
        • ORANGES: Jeanette struggles to be a Christian whilst realizing her sexuality. She struggles to balance the two "to the pure, all things are pure".
        • SPLENDID SUNS: Mariam struggles to maintain faith in God after so much of her life ends up in grief. However, she maintains true to her religious beliefs.
      • POEMS: Many of the poems from Feminine Gospels will work well on the theme of religion. This includes History, Anon, The Virgin's Memo etc.
        • HISTORY: "ease him down from the cross" connotes religion and suggests that Duffy is referring to MAry, who is rarely mentioned in the Bible. She could be making a statement that the women throughout history have been forgotten, but have always been there in the background.
    • Gender
      • PLAY: The Crucible, as the women are blamed for being withces, never the men. The religious setting of the play enhances its traditional view on women's roles where men were seen as superior.
        • THE CRUCIBLE: John Proctor uses the phrase "whore's vengeance" to refer to Abigail. The use of the slur "whore" as a female orientated insult demonstrates how men were superior in the society.
      • NOVEL: A Thousand Splendid Suns confronts gender normalitites within the Muslim religion and how the protagonists Mariam and Laila overcome the restrictions placed upon them by the Taliban such as not being able to leave the house without a male influence.
        • SPLENDID SUNS: Rasheed quotes "it looks dishonorable, an unmarried young woman living here", "times being what they are, a woman needs a husband". Quotes from Mariam's point of view "in the eyes of the Taliban, being a communist and the leader of the dreaded KHAD made Najibullah only slightly more contemptible than a woman".
      • POEMS: Again, any of the feminine gospels are amazing for gender struggles, also She by Alice Walker. All explore the concept of femininity and stereotypes.
        • SHE: "She is the one who reserves the right to dress like a ****" dismisses society's stereotypes of females and how they are often blamed for their own **** because of their clothing. This quotes tackles the issue directly with the declarative.
    • Race and Immigration
      • PLAY: Child of the Divide tackles the issue of race, and the struggle Pali has at fitting in with his Hindu biological parents as a Muslim boy.
      • POEM: Nothing's Changed by Tatamkhulu Afrika. This poem explores the apartheid and how black people were discriminated against. The narrator of the poem (and indeed the poet himself), is a white man who struggles to accept what those of his own race are doing to black people.
        • NOTHING'S CHANGED: "amiable weeds" personification and represents how black people were perceived in society as "weeds". "the skin about my bones" demonstrates how the poet is uncomfortable with his white skin, but also suggests that we are all the same underneath.
      • NOVEL: A Thousand Splendid Suns. This novel explores the struggles faced by Afghan women trying to escape. Also The Kite Runner as Amir is a Pashtun Muslim who is favored over the Hazaras (Hasan is one of these). Eventually Amir has to escape to America due to the Taliban.


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