We Are Who We Choose To Be

One of my favorite movies of all time is the animated film the Iron Giant. This movie follows the path of a young boy who befriends and influences a gargantuan, sentient giant made of metal. In the movie, the boy name Horgarth teaches the giant the importance of self identification, and that “you are who you choose to be.” This particular quote spoke droves to me when I read a particular line in Everyday Use from Alice Walker’s In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women. The narrator reads “I am the way my daughter would want me to be: a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barley cake. (Walker 48)” While she states this, she goes on to talk about her adventures as a rural woman of the land, living a pastorale life, much different then how her daughter wants her to be. In truth, it is a shame people, literary or not, are constrained by society to carry on as someone that they do not recognize in the mirror. One of the greatest gifts that we as a species posses is the innate ability to go about choosing a path that is higher then simply eating and continuing our species. We can forge our own destinies and choose to be whoever we want, although, if only it were that simple. It seems that another facet of society is telling us where to go and who to be. I thought that this aspect was just a trait of today’s society, but Walker’s tale takes place in the turn of the 20th century. It seems that as long as human beings interact with each other, we will forever strive to be someone who society approves of, rather then be the person of whom we want and choose to be. (SPOILER ALERT) The Giant did choose who he wanted to be, a savior, and if we can use it as an example, both in literature and in reality, then perhaps we can too choose who we want to be

One thought on “We Are Who We Choose To Be”

  1. Although I have never seen this film, I enjoyed the spoiler alert and the contrast that it made to Walker’s story. I hadn’t thought of Mama’s character in this way until I read this post, and I think Mama was definitely subconsciensly influenced by the person that her daughter, Dee, wanted her to be. At the same time, however, Mama was proud of her possessions and her heritage, even though Dee tells her that she doesn’t understand the value of heritage. Mama appreciates things like the old quilts because they are valuable through their ability to keep her and her family warm. Dee simply sees them as a token of heritage, which is important as well, but she doesn’t view the quilts as something that could provide her warmth or comfort. While Mama does spend a lot of time talking about Dee’s physical appearance, which she tends to envy, she also has disdain for Dee’s desire for material objects.

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