Personal and Cultural Identity in Things Fall Apart and “I Lost My Talk”

1609 words 7 pages
Thursday, January 17

Personal and Cultural Identity in Things Fall Apart and “I Lost My Talk”

Identity can be explained as the state or fact of being a specific person or thing. [definition is good, but needs to be more specific] A specific person or thing can be defined by his/her personality, interests, family, community or culture. [connect your definition to the novel and poem—that’s why previous sentence was inserted] In both Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and in Rita Joe’s “I Lost My Talk”, Okonkwo and the persona, become confused about who they are and lose their respective identities. [Notice I insert the topics of your three body paragraphs here] Okonkwo and the persona have a certain degree of power that
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Okonkwo “wiped his machete on the sand and went away” (Achebe205). Since no one supported Okonkwo’s actions, he realizes that he is no longer the powerful and successful man who left Umofia and since he no longer has any power he simply “went away” (Achebe 204). Okonkwo believed that he was a powerful man and because he loses his power in his village of Umofia he also loses his personal identity. The persona in Rita Joe’s “I Lost My Talk” also loses her personal identity. The persona was only a little girl when she had her talk taken away from her “at Shubencacadie school” (Joe). Now the persona has a new talk that does not really define who she really is. Now her words are all “scrambled” because [persona means speaker of a poem—there is only one speaker in this poem] the environment of the school “snatched it away” (Joe). The persona’s “talk” or language indicated who she was as a person and since it is snatched away her personal identity was lost with her language. Both the novel and the poem indicate that when people lose [pronoun-antecedent] power they can lose their personal identity along with it. Things Fall Apart and “I Lost My Talk” demonstrate that when people [pronoun-antecedent again—do you get it yet?] lose power they may lose their personal identity and their cultural identity as well. When Okonkwo


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