Identity Essay

“Our identity is shaped by the world we live in”. In what ways is this true of your core text and two related texts? Your response must include a detailed consideration of at least two of your core poems.

Identity is what constitutes an individual and differentiates them from others. The environment holds a profound role in shaping an individual’s identity. One’s identity is greatly subject to change and modification by the surroundings through their environment, relationships and community. Whilst a variety of texts support this idea, two core poems by T.S. Eliot, “Rhapsody On A Windy Night” and “The Love Song Of J.Alfred Prufrock” superlatively reinforces how factors such as judgment, past memories and experiences can alter the identity of the individual. The poem “Bourke” by Henry Lawson and the 2009 film, The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow also represent the shaping of identity through experiences and memories.

“Rhapsody On A Windy Night” is a T.S. Eliot poem which conveys how past memories and experiences have haunted a lonely man for many years and how his dismal surroundings have only emphasised this. The protagonist of the text is clearly troubled by his bleak, and almost surreal atmosphere, apparent in the repetition of “twisted” throughout the poem, and the use of   occult imagery, such as “lunar incantations”, “ lunar synthesis”, “spaces of dark” and “The secret of its skeleton, stiff and white”. “Twisted” is also used in the context of being a symbol of unease and aberrancy. As a “crowd of twisted things” are ‘thrown up high and dry’, this leads them to ‘surrender’ whilst the moon “twists a paper rose” as “she” is alone and reminiscing.
The constant mention of time (in “Half-past one” to “Four o’clock”) hints that he believes that he is running out of time and that his miserable environment has rendered his attempts to create a meaningful identity futile. The anaphora and personification of the street lamp reinforces the surreal tone and also...