Tag Archives: identity

What’s In a Name?

Henry David Thoreau, in his essay “Walking”, discusses the importance (or lack-there-of) of having a name. For example, my name Sara, taken from biblical context of Abraham’s wife, Sarai, was given to me when I was born by my parents. It even says my full legal name on my birth certificate that I am indeed called Sara. However, Thoreau believes that “there is nothing in a name” (108). Man can be individualized by his race, character, or other variety, but a name doesn’t tell an outsider much about a person besides having a label. A name is merely a tag given to a person, but a familiar name won’t make a person any more familiar to a stranger. Thoreau says that a name doesn’t help to make distinctions of a person.

So, is he basically saying that I am worthless? I am not sure which stance Thoreau is taking, but to me it seems as if he is inexplicitly stating that man is made equal by name, but gains his individuality by personality, characteristics (physical and emotional), and other features. Therefore, I shouldn’t be identified as just being “Sara”: you can now call me “loud and obnoxious”.


Who Are You?

According to Christian Diehm’s Identification with Nature, our lives as human beings is shaped and defined by our natures. At first, I was skeptical as to what he was saying, because I have lived in the same home for over 18 years and have developed my own personality that is completely different than my rural country/redneck town. However, in the article, Diehm further explains that nature doesn’t necessarily mean the physical environment that one can see. He says that people identify themselves by a “sense of commonality” (3). So, does this mean that I identify myself by having commonalities with nature? Yes and no. Diehm does say that “to identify personally with nature is to develop a sense of connectedness to entities in the local natural community with which we have had personal contact” (6), but there is so much more that defines a so-called ‘local natural community’. These communities, as the article states, are relationships and connections that we have with others in certain environments. Therefore, we become identified with the people we associate ourselves with just as much as being defined by the places we go to. If this is the case, then I should defined as a peppy, spontaneous Target addict…which I have no shame in admitting! What would be your identification?