Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fictional Characters and Identity

What we become in life depends in part on what others need us to be; still, metamorphosis from Man to Bear requires an unusual character and unusual circumstances. 
--(The problem of The Berserker's Ghost)

Assembly of my Troutzilla (now Catch & Release) is complete. It might undergo recombination or decay, but that is in the future--and right now I just need to pause, to celebrate, to clear my head so I can concentrate on other things.

I'd like to share what I know about O and P, the main characters in Troutzilla--and their different process of creating identity.

O is a Hermit Crab. He is always assuming new identities. Part of this is necessary because O is growing, but part of it is just because he is manic and curious. There is change happening in the "true and naked" O, but it is usually invisible because of the role, the found shell, the inappropriate bit of garbage O is sheltering in at the time.

(A hermit crab sheltering in a broken bottle)

P is a Chocolate Bunny. Identity is impressed upon her. When change happens it is usually calamitous. Subjected to pressure or passion, she crushes or collapses or loses all definition because she is essentially hollow. There is a chance she might become a real bunny, but it would probably take an almost magical reinvention of herself and she would have to reject the sweet role provided for her.

(A chocolate bunny responding to environmental change.)

There are other processes of identity formation including Geode and Pearl. How do you perceive the creation of personal identity? Or do you believe that the essential self is immutable?
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