Posted by: beansai | March 3, 2008

Journal Entry #8: Project Ideas

    Last night, well past one thirty in the morning (well I guess that would technically make it this morning), when I should have been far-gone in sleep (especially since I had to get up at 6 this morning for work), I couldn’t stop my brain from buzzing and calculating and thinking and wandering. I’ve never had a glass of coca-cola rattle my sleep ability so much in a very long time. But this isn’t supposed to be about my caffeine withdrawls and overdoses, it’s supposed to be about my racing brain and the sudden burst of ideas I had.

    For my rhetoric class we are going to be writing a paper that is 10 pages plus. When the topic of the paper was originally brought up, I was clueless as to what I would write about. I had some ideas, but nothing solid, no “Ah ha!” moment, no “eureka!” for me. Since we have been focusing on memoirs, my initial thought was to do a paper on the memoir Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi. I had some basic ideas for that memoir, but I can’t say that my heart was in it. Hell, I couldn’t even remember for certainty where it took place….I guessed Morocco by the way…and I guessed right, now that I’ve gone back and looked at the book again. While I’m still considering this one an option, it just wasn’t calling out to me. I wanted a theme a thesis that just seemed to formulate randomly and articulately in my head. Delusional, I know.

    Then, last night, or this morning, after I had written down some lines for a poem, because, naturally, the creative bug hit me right before fading into sleep, I started thinking about my own issues that come along with being adopted. For those of you that don’t know, I was abandoned as a newborn and then adopted at the age of 4weeks. Despite it happening at such a young age and beyond conscious memory, it has inevitably had an impact on my life and my development as a person and who I think I am. That’s the funny thing about identity, you see, it all depends on who is doing the identifying. In my head, my identity is constructed in one manner, but people don’t always see me in the way that I see myself.

    Back on topic… While I was in the midst of these mental wanderings, school inevitably drifted in and out amongst all my thoughts of life. Somehow I got to thinking about this paper and how I was still very uncertain about what I would write on or even what book I would use. Then it hit me, Solar Storms by Linda Hogan is the novel that I would write on. With this thought everything that I loved and was haunted by in the book came back to me. A book that was such a mixture of grief and relief, because of the symmetry between my own thoughts and feelings, inarticulate, but there, and the book’s rounded portrayal of the those very thoughts I had yet learned how to verbalize. This is the book I would write my paper on. This book that I’m passionate about and want to read again. This book that deals with the issues an abandoned child has with constructing their individual identity without it being marred by their abandonment (and abuse in the main character’s case). This book that addresses the importance of roots and family and community and the role they play in a person’s construction of identity. This book that guides us through the main character’s rite of passage so eloquently and movingly. This was my “ah ha!” book, my “eureka!” moment. The ideas started flowing and by then it was well past two maybe even three in the morning and I had to force it all out of my head and try to get some sleep before work.

    So, here are my basic ideas for my paper so far…the thesis isn’t quite intact yet, it still needs some solidifying, but it’ll get there, I just need to find my angle:

    To begin with I want to address the fact that Angel, the main character, is forced to reconstruct her identity…I think this plays a huge part in the novel, because the beginning is about stripping down and breaking away that identity that was forced on her by emotional trauma as an abused child, followed by later events.
    Angel is forced to reconstruct her identity after a childhood of emotionally and physically scarring abuse by her mother, followed by years of being passed from one foster home to another. Angel must step out of her abandoned-child-identity and discover herself. Linda Hogan strips away Angel’s mutilated identity that was molded by an abusive mother and enables her to reconstruct her identity by rediscovering her roots and thereby herself.

    Some things I want to explore:
    ~Is it necessary to be apart of a community (or family, or religion, or tribe) in order to properly construct an identity of self?
    ~The role community (or…) play in the construction of identity process
    ~How having a valid role in a community (or…) helps the (re)construction process
    ~The community (or…) functions as the training wheels of the individual’s construction of identity
    ~The contrast of being loved (by a community or…) and how that impacts identity versus not (or the belief of) being loved

    Well, that certainly is a load to think about, but I’m happier with this than what I had to begin with…I even feel like I could use Dreams of Trespass as a comparative or collaborative book with these ideas about how a community (or…) influences the construction of self…hmmm.

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