Tom Brennan & Witness

From your studies what are the major influences that shape one’s identity?

Identity can be defined as the distinguishing characteristics of a person that makes them unique. Identity is shaped by major influences such as the challenges faced by a catalyst, the relationships formed with different individuals and the transformation of individuals forced to embrace the change occurring. This forms the basis of the development of one’s identity and this is clearly evident in the novel the story of Tom Brennan and film Witness.

One of the major influences that shape one’s identity is the concept of a catalyst for change. In the story of Tom Brennan, Tom’s brother Daniel causes a significant change with the people around him due to the car crash. Tom’s world is turned upside down due to the consequences of the crash as the town shifts the blame and hatred towards the Brennan family. Tom shows his disbelief of the negative response shown by the town from the result of Daniel’s horrific car crash by describing the town of Mumbilli’s present attitude towards Tom’s once respected family, “Past the ugly words that told us that we were no longer wanted”. This emphasizes Tom’s struggle to cope with the extraordinary events that have plunged his world into a future of uncertainty. Tom before the accident was proud of the family name ‘Brennan’ as the name was well respected and becoming better known due to the Brennan brother’s outstanding rugby talents. This however was contrasted with the events after the accident in which the name was constantly linked to ‘killer’ and Tom felt that the name was beginning to become a burden because the name was destroying his identity and good reputation. Tom desperately needs a fresh new start so that he can shape his identity that was held in high regard prior to the accident in Mumbilli.
In Witness, similar comparisons can be drawn from Tom Brennan’s counterpart John Book. Book experiences a catastrophic murder that acts as a catalyst...