Does Culture Affect Self?

The concept of culture and its impact on the self is widely studied and is often a topic of debate. While it is true that culture affects the self, it is also true that the self affects culture to the point of determining it. In this sense, culture does affect the self but there is a limit to this influence based on the environment and the affected person. It is not surprising that people in different locations of the world view themselves in different ways owing to their interactions. Indeed, people are affected by culture in the way they think about the world and community engagement. To a great extent, culture has a large influence on our characters and personalities ad is responsible for who we are. Still, our behavior and reaction to different stimuli is dependent on our culture and the interactions we make in the environment.

The Child Who Walks Backwards is well versed in the topic of culture and how it affects the individual. Indeed, the poem perfectly explores the theme of child abuse through the use of literary devices and unique style of writing. The repetition of certain phrases and words is important in laying out the overall argument about the role of culture in influencing the individual. For instance, the repetition of the phrase “she tells me” is perfectly articulated to communicate the role of the mother in abusing the child. This is achieved through the creation of suspicion in the stanzas and the use of oxymoron sentences to advance the theme of culture. Consequently, the use of opposing sentences is adequate in advancing the general theme of culture and the self and the interactions thereof. Through these styles, the author achieves a remarkable explanation of the concepts of self and culture.

Still, culture and its influence on the self is also the subject of The Pedestrian; a short story by Ray Bradbury. Indeed, the character of mead is used to visualize the cultural context of the place he lives in and understands the differences between him and the other people. The novel thus communicates the theme of self through Mead who has refused to shape up to the cultural influences within the town. In contrast, the entire town and the people around it are affected by its culture and conform to the dictates of that culture. While Mead walks at night to enjoy the cool breeze; everyone else is locked to their television sets leaving the roads empty. In fact, the police unit that apprehends him does not even understand why he could be walking alone at night. Even when Mead states that he is a writer, the occupants of the car do not believe him since people in the town do not buy or read books anymore. In this way, the role of culture in shaping the thinking of the occupants of the car is manifested in the book. Essentially, the theme of culture and its growing influence on the self is perfectly portrayed in this novel through the main character.

Culture is one of the most important factors in influencing the character and personality of human beings. Indeed, it is through culture that people learn what the world expects of them and responds accordingly. Even if culture were not to influence people’s behavior, they would still need a starting point from where they can visualize the world. In Shaping out Identity and Culture, Tash Aw explores the role of culture in shaping how people perceive the world. Accordingly, the first interaction between people is based on how they assume other people to be and their interpretations of these people. The speaker admits to having formed stories about each person he watched without having to talk to them. Further, the talk asserts that culture affects a people’s thinking based on the fact that it is the first point of interaction for humanity. To quote his words; “culture is all I had ever known and it was therefore my point of reference.”

It is no doubt that culture has huge influence on the self and the individual. In fact, culture not only affects our way of doing things but also our thinking and how we perceive things. For instance, our choice of friends could be influenced by our culture including the behavior that we think is right in people. In addition, the fact that our culture is our first point of reference makes it extremely powerful in influencing our societal ideals. Essentially, everything that an individual partakes is dependent on their culture. Culture also affects people’s personalities and characters thus determining their interaction with the outside world. The materials studied in this essay all seem to agree on the fact that culture influences the self. Indeed, our thinking, personality, beliefs, perceptions and character are all shaped by our culture.

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