Everything in this life is about the story you tell yourself who you believe you are so, who are you? Our reality is constantly changing likewise, idea of what reality shapes us to become the people we are today. Our life is spent deciphering the contrast among reality and not reality. Defining reality is difficult because it is subjective to the person. The people we surround ourselves with around shape our perception of what is real. Reality is our grip of what is good and bad, true and false, what is genuine and not genuine, therefore reality can be twisted by our faith in it. We can truly think something is correct, yet be sincerely wrong. This theme is not just present in ones daily life but also in numerous novels and movies such as Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Watchmen, and the JOY. Through exclusion, judgment, humiliation, and criticism, other individuals impact how you feel about yourself, the labels you use to define yourself, and in a general sense what you accept about yourself, about your own capabilities, and your general surroundings as, Tommy’s lack of creativity led him to being teased and feeling inferior to others, Joy’s father thinking that she was incompetent to run a business resulted in Joy needing to overcome her father’s notions, and Dan was constantly seeking approval from his father which led him to being unconfident in himself.
Never Let Me Go was about a group of students who face the aftermath of going through a human cloning program. An important characteristic for students in the program to have was being creative. Many of the students knew how to draw. However, one of the main characters in the novel Tommy did not fit this standard as he could not draw as well as others. This resulted in him being ridiculed by other students because of his lack of creativity. Tommy did not like the feeling of being inferior and threw a tantrum in front of all the students. As the novel progresses”,Tommy eventually stops caring about how others perceive him. Breaking through this barrier led Tommy to become creative. He would create pictures of abstract and unique concepts. When Tommy surrounded himself with people that made him feel inferior because he couldn’t draw he started to believe that he was bad. However, when Tommy stopped defining himself through his peers ideas about him, and surrounded himself in a supportive environment, he was able to produce art that he was incapable of making before further reinforcing the concept that one’s environment shapes ones reality.
Joy wanted to run her own business selling her mop invention. Her father was unsupportive of her dreams as he believes her to be incompetent and incapable of running her own business. She receives no support from her mother, as her mother lays in bed watching soap operas all day, and her sister is jealous of Joy and tries to find ways to outshine her. Even though Joy had a lot of people who said no to her or didn’t support her dreams, the people she kept close such as her ex husband supported her which is ultimately why Joy was able to break through societies notions about her capabilities. The people she kept close built her confidence and made her feel capable of achieving her dreams which combated any negative comments she received from others. Her self confidence helped her push through trials she faced and build a successful business.
Dan wanted to go into vigilantism. However, his father did not approve as he wanted Dan to go into banking. Even though his father did not approve of his career choice, Dan pursued vigilantism anyway. Doing so made Dan have this desire to seek approval from his dad. Not gaining his approval made Dan lack confidence in himself and his capabilities. Laurie coming into Dan’s life impacted Dan immensely as he wanted Laurie desperately but because of his lack of confidence he wasn’t able to have the Laurie the way he wanted. His lack of confidence leads him to first being friend zoned, and then later on, brother zoned. Laurie’s inability to understand the way Dan feels about her, pushed Dan into trying to break through his lack of confidence. When Laurie kisses Dan, Dan not only gets Laurie, but he also gained confidence. He comes up with an idea to break Rorschach out of jail and follows through with the plan. Ultimately it was the change in Dan’s environment that lead Dan to becoming more confident and successful in the novel. When Dan did not gain approval from his father, it impacted his confidence and made him feel unimportant. Surrounding himself with Laurie helped contribute to him building his inner confidence as she made him feel like he could accomplish anything regardless of what anyone else says.
For my media piece, I chose to create a sculpture of a human body with different coloured pieces of clay making up the body. The different coloured pieces represents the different ideas, comments and opinions society has on a person which ultimately contributes to how the person perceives themselves. I chose to depict this as it was other people’s opinions and ideas that contributed to Tommy, Joy, and Dan’s idea of their self.
Is our self perception influenced by society or does it come from within which makes us who we are? The idea of society influencing an individual’s self perception is depicted through three different scenarios, the first being Tommy’s battle with giving into other societies notion that he is incapable of drawing, the second scenario being Joy’s struggle with giving into her father’s opinions about her, and the third being Dan struggling to let go of his father’s disapproval. It is clear that what ultimately lead to each individual’s success in the novels and movie was changing who they surrounded themselves with, as our perceptions are govern by societies ideologies; consequently, our thoughts are shaped by others actions.