The Nature Of Identity Essay

Every individual has a different personality,  we each have different aspects that make us human.  However, every person has a motivation factor, that drive that pushes them to strive for more to be who they want to be although everyone has a different level of drive.  The texts: “I Am Malala” written by Malala Yousafzai, “Wadjda” directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, “Rabbit-Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, and “Lion” directed by Garth Davis all show the important connection of pursuing your own identity.  All the main characters learn throughout their texts that it is important to be who you are as an individual, and not to let anyone stop you when you want something. If you strive you can achieve.

In the book “I am Malala” written by Malala Yousafzai, the viewer reads Malala trying to fight for the right to go to school.  The reader learns through Malala’s life that when you get knocked down you will get up stronger. Malala was traveling home from school on October the 9th, 2012 when her bus was stopped by 2 Taliban gunman,  the gunmen fired 3 bullets at Malala and her friends, one of the bullets slips under Malala’s skin on the side of her head but as it heads towards her brain that bone causes the bullet to ricochet away and instead smashes her eardrum severs a nerve in her face and hits her shoulder.  This causes Malala to go through a 5-hour life and death operation but when she wakes up all she feels is love. She writes “In order to go forward it is important to have love in your heart, and I want to have love in my heart, I don’t want to have any hate or any bad feelings in my heart and that’s what makes me happy.  I believe that whatever happened bad or good it’s really important to focus on the future, learn from your past but in order to go forward, you have to focus on your future” This shows us that even though she was knocked down she got up stronger. In reality and although it caused her great pain, getting shot helped Malala rise to power and get noticed by the people that would soon help her with getting women back into school in Middle Eastern Countries.  “In a brutal attempt to silence her the Taliban only made her louder.” This quote shows us that the Taliban actually weren’t slowing Malala down the actually speeded up the process of her rising to fame.

“Wadjda” directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, presents the theme of pursuing your own identity.  It shows that letting someone else determine how you should live is never good for your mental health.  For Wadjda this is hard as she struggles with the laws and traditions of her country, Saudi Arabia.

This is shown when Wadjda finds out about a Japanese Quran Recital competition featuring an SR1,000 cash prize.  Wadjda enters the competition with intentions of winning the prize money so that she can buy herself a new bike. She doesn’t care about the traditions about women not being able to ride bikes she just wants to race her friend Abdullah on his bike.  The viewer hears “And what are your plans for the prize money?” asks Ms. Hussa the principal after Wadjda wins the competition, “I’m going to buy a bike from the store down the street” replies Wadjda. A wide shot then shows the whole assembly of girls laughing, for Wadjda this is a significant point as she now has to decide whether to be herself and take the money to buy the bike or abandon her identity to become someone she’s not.  We hear Ms. Hussa say “Wouldn’t it be better if we donated the money to our brethren in Palestine? You know, a bike isn’t a toy for girls. Especially not for well-behaved, devout girls who protect their souls and honor. I’m Sure your family won’t allow it” This is an important quotation in the film because it shows that everything is against Wadjda being herself, her teachers, her family and the traditions of her people all think that she should just fit in with the other girls. This should have been the mental tipping point for Wadjda as everyone was against her but Wadjda does not let herself be molded into the perfect Saudi Arabian Girl and she soon convinces her mother that she is being the best version of herself she can be.  Her mother realizes that she will not be happy living the way she is being taught to live so she goes out and buys the bike for Wadjda herself showing us that by pursuing your own identity you will be happiest and become closer with your friends and family.

Letting someone else determine how you should live can be related to the film “Wadjda” because in the film Wadjda was also “crushed” but instead of physically is was mental as she was laughed at when she tried to be unique.  Like Wadjda, Malala didn’t let tradition or the beliefs of others stop her for if she did a lot of women and children would not be able to attend school and have the opportunity to get a good education today. Like Wadjda, Malala preserved because it was what she believed in and she didn’t let anyone else determine how she should live.

“Rabbit-Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, teaches us that it is important to not let anyone take away your identity,  for Molly, Gracie and Daisy they show this in many different ways as they struggle with their 1000 mile journey through the outback of Australia.  Molly, Gracie, and Daisy do not want to participate with anything to do with the camp. We hear Molly muttering “Bad place, these people make me sick, make me sick, these people make me sick, this is a bad place” this shows us how angry Molly is that she was kidnapped and separated from her mother and aunt and that she is disgusted about how they are teaching her to live.  Molly, Gracie, and Daisy lives have always been carefree as children’s lives should be they learned to hunt and about their culture and environment and it is daunting being suddenly kidnapped and thrown into a different culture and being told what to do it makes them question how they are ever going to get back to their parents. Molly looks outside and thunder is heard; she realizes that it is going to rain.   This gives Molly the perfect opportunity to get away as the rain would help cover their tracks. She says to Daisy and Gracie: “Come on. Get your things. We’re going. We’re going home to mother.” Molly outsmarts the men chasing her and Gracie and Daisy. She also gains a lot of new skills as a tracker as she is learning how her prey could hide their tracks and she earns the respect of MooDoo the excellent tracker who is hunting them it is evident that he is aware of Molly’s escape tactics and as these become more impressive, he allows her to run. This can be compared to “Wadjda because as we see in Wadjda, Wadjda is positive that she doesn’t want to be molded into the perfect Saudi Arabian girl and that she wants to ride her bike.  Like Molly who is also not letting herself be re-taught in the education camp and runs away to show it. In both films, the girls end up being themselves and showing everybody that nobody is alike and it’s good to be different.

Another aspect of pursuing your own identity in the film “Rabbit-Proof Fence” is that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.  Molly, Gracie, and Daisy are all kidnapped and taken to a re-education camp and they have to walk 1000 miles across the outback of Australia while also avoiding rangers to get home.  Although this task seems damn near impossible Molly isn’t daunted by the task and doesn’t give up hope of making it back home. We hear Daisy say “It’s the fence it’s the fence she found it” when they first find the fence.  This gives all 3 girls but especially Molly and Daisy hope that they will someday get home to their mother. This quotation shows us that through perseverance and skill Molly was able to get to the fence using it not only as a guide to show them the way home but as a sense of hope to help give Molly and the younger girls the motivation they needed to continue in the next leg of the journey.  The scene this quotation is from shows us that no matter how daunting the task as long as you have a positive mindset and you believe you can no task is too great. This is similar to the text “I am Malala” which tells us that Malala went through a similar situation after getting shot when she received all the cards. These cards helped her get back up as they showed her hope from people she didn’t even know but they supported her cause of women and children’s rights.  Molly also is shown hope but her hope is in the form of a fence that showed her the way home. Both girls were in impossible and daunting situations but they both had enough hope and motivation to make it through.

“Lion” directed by Garth Davis shows us that you should never focus on something so much that you push away everything and everyone else.  For Saroo they show this as he continues to feel more empty throughout the film.

This was first shown when Saroo was at a party with his new friends in Melbourne and he sees a dessert that reminds him of his past life.  This is shown by a close up of the dessert, then a close up of Saroo’s face and then a flashback of when he saw the dessert with his biological brother in the market.  While this scene was happening the viewer could hear a loud thumping heartbeat and heavy breathing in the background signifying the fear and claustrophobia he his feeling in this moment in time.  This shows us that Saroo hasn’t really put them memories of his old life to rest and one little trigger has brought the memories and the emotions flooding back. Later we see Saroo surrounded by maps and drawing pins.  We see that he has grown so obsessed with finding the old life that he has pushed away all the things he loved in his new one We hear “Where are you” this shows us that even Saroo’s girlfriend who lives in the same house even thinks he is drifting away from everyone, we hear her say “Home what home you mean where I’m alone in one room and your alone in the other?” This show that even when he is with his family and friends he is still stressing over finding his family.  This is different to the book “I am Malala” because even though both Malala and Saroo are trying to get back to there home town Malala does it by bringing allies and friends closer giving speeches and protesting so that everyone will get home. Saroo, on the other hand, pushes everyone away and this causes for a lonely time in his life as he has now on to share his feelings and emotions with. If Saroo had kept his friends and family close and let them in on what he was doing they would have helped him on his journey and it wouldn’t have been so lonely for him.


It doesn’t matter how much the world is against you, you get to choose to stand up for your self, pursue your own identity or let yourself be shaped into something your not it all depends on you.  It is crucial that in order to live a happy, cheerful life that you enjoy, you need to be yourself and overcome traditions and other peoples beliefs.  This is shown in the texts: “I Am Malala” written by Malala Yousafzai, “Wadjda” directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, “Rabbit-Proof Fence” directed by Phillip Noyce, and “Lion” directed by Garth Davis.  In all of these films/texts, we see the signs of lost identity and the struggle of trying to live without knowing your real family or being shaped into someone your not.  These films/texts all show the reality of the nature of identity and it makes the viewer/reader think about how they would feel in those situations, would you be who you wanted to be or live how others want you to live.  In order to live mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially you need to follow through with your beliefs and not le tradition hold you down.  You have to be able to strive to achieve.

One Reply to “The Nature Of Identity Essay”

  1. Zoe, it will be good to see all of the parts of this essay complete. Make sure that you leave enough time for your connections across texts as these similarities and contrasts will fulfil the assessment task. Also, be as specific as possible when you make your judgments about how parts of each text teach the reader about your theme and human nature.

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