For the texts The Blind Owl, Blue Door, Dust and Conscience, and Gilgamesh we have read this week, I have gathered that all of these give the assertion of the many struggles you may face to find your identity within yourself and that the society or the people you’re closest to has a lot to do with self discovery. What I mean is that, although everyone may be unique and have their own sense of belonging in this society, we are not the first modern human beings to walk amongst this earth. Thus, we gather all the ideas we have about this life from previous sources, and filter them to our own liking and understanding. Even though the concept of “self discovery” may be a rough journey that could take a life time, but with the help of the people and society surrounding you, this journey will endlessly enlighten and educate yourself about yourself one small step at a time.
To put that assertion into perspective, in The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat, a book filtered through the dreams of a drunk opium addict, guides us through his mind of endless thoughts. We know that he is in a room, which becomes a metaphor for the experience of living within his own head and to describe the interior of his mind. Seeing the world through the eyes of the mentally unstable questions the very notion of seeing the world itself as he says “We are the children of death and it is death that rescues us from the deceptions of life.” Hedayat gets us to recognize the way that our ideas of beauty and our thoughts about the world intermesh with previous ideas and thoughts that we have had.
Same with Blue Door by Tanya Barfield, it again exemplifies how difficult it is to walk amongst people that somehow just doesn’t approve or understand who you are. Protagonist, Lewis, wrestles to recoup his identity living as a black man that has assimilated into white culture after his white wife leaves him. Left alone, he is forced to confront the sudden implosion of his marriage. Feeling unhinged, he says “I don’t know where, who, I don’t know why I am. All these years, I don’t know why I am.” Which pretty much sums up how hard it is to discover yourself with everyone around you calling out all the aspects that makes you who you are because some of the choices you’ve made in your life. Even though people around you may not approve of your actions, you can further come to realization of the values and priorities people in this society treasures most, which could also help you in deciding for yourself what values you intend of prioritizing.
Now moving on to Dust and Conscience, a story of family ties, cultural and sexual identity by Truong Tran, the formatting of this book is profound. What I mean is that, in that entire book, there is not a single punctuation mark, let alone any kind of separation, making interpreting the story a bit confusing. But then I realized, these poems, can symbolize a person contained within a set of outwardly imposed boundaries. For example four walls, an ethnicity, or a gender, do not harden and take the shape of their restriction, but instead remain free and fuse like water. A thing that may take the shape of it’s container, but in its natural state holds no set form. The poetic space of Dust and Conscience also explores the timely idea of what it is to live between divided places, times, philosophies, continents, sexes and cultures. It reminds us that sometimes we are not one thing or another but a being experiencing the journey between the two. But the true beauty I found in Dust and Conscience is that it offers…