Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Identity

Palm Sunday is one of my favorite holy days of the year. I love that for one brief moment all these people believed of Jesus as the Son of God. The sad part of the story is that in what seems like a few days time, they will also support his death. As a weird transition, it makes me think about identity, especially the concept of identity in YA novels. I have been listening to the Alchemyst and Magician by Michael Scott and Wings by Aprilynne Pike. While all three books are fantasy, which I really love, the whole thought of identity as perceived by other people and by the characters themselves, really stands out for me. Sophie and Josh, the twins in the Alchemyst series, are bound together by being twins. After Sophie is "Awakened," Josh feels lost and even becomes afraid of his sister, who he has always relied on. Josh has trouble reconciling this "new" Sophie with "his" Sophie. I think Michael Scott captures perfectly this idea of people seeing other people as stagnant and I think this is especially true when we are young. People can only be seen one way and it is hard to shake preconceived notions. Josh will eventually get a new perceptive, but in the first two books, he is stuck with the awe he has. In Wings, Laurel must accept that she is a faerie and Pike shows that it is not easy to accept huge changes. Laurel has believed in herself as a human with picky eating habits and it is very difficult to see herself as a "normal" faerie. I think both authors capture perfectly adolescent feelings and emotions, especially in regards to identity. I love fantasy novels for that reason, that we come into a story with unbelief and end up thinking that it is possible that monsters and faeries do exist. Fantasy does not have a monopoly on the idea of identity, but they just stand out to me at this moment. To tie it back to Palm Sunday, it is the thought that identity really is fluid and our views of people and events must be fluid too.

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