Who Am I?: What Informs My Identity?

Theme

Identity and CommunityRace, Ethnicity and CultureSpeech and Expression

Audience

Arts & CultureState Humanities Councils

Resource

Bilingual/Bilinguë

Author

Espaillat, Rhina

Big Questions

How do we define who we are?How do you understand your own identity? How does it relate to the communities you are a part of?How has my family or background shaped who I am?Is your sense of individual identity ever in conflict with your community? How?How does my race, culture or ethnicity shape who I am?How does language define our worldview?

Opening Activity

Think of two different groups or communities that you feel you belong to. How are these two groups or communities different from one another? How do you make transitions from one to the other?

Discussion Questions

  1. Why does the speaker's father set rules about English outside of the house and Spanish inside?
  2. How do you understand the role that language plays in the division and the wholeness of the heart?
  3. Why does the speaker describe her father as standing "half in fear of words he loved but wanted not to hear"?
  4. How do languages inform the identity and sense of belonging of the speaker?
  5. Thinking back to the two groups or communities you talked about in the opening exercise, does the speaker's conflict resonate with you?
  6. Is it important to you to keep a unified self, no matter the setting, or do you think it's important to made adjustments depending on who you're with and where you are? Does this impact your work in any way? How?

Closing Activity

Think back about the two groups or communities that you feel you belong to, and that are quite different from each other. Do you see any similarity between the groups? Do you see a way that you could connect them?

Back to Discussion Plans