looking back on my childhood I can remember wanting to be like my cousin. I only saw the good in her and so everything she told me I did. It wasnt until we broke a door in our house that I stopped being a puppet and started thinking for myself. What happened was that we wanted to get our bikes from the garage but the door was closed. My cousin then had the bright idea to run towards the door to push it open. We both then did just that, we ran and slammed into the door to push it open. But on the third try the door landed on the floor, broken. We had made a big mistake. Our garage door was now broken and all because of us. Who wouldn't change after that accident? Hasn't everyone had an experience in which they had to overcome a mistake making them stronger as a person? I realized that becoming who you are has to do with the experiences one goes through.
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Just like in the article Masks, the author had an experience in which she also realized that, the "perfect" image of someone can be deceiving, making you the strong independent one. The article starts out with a description of what seems to be a "perfect" girl, which would be Kathy. Then goes on to talk about her and the way she dresses, which is quite different from the way Kathy did. As it was described in the article, "she wore a pink dress with frills and lace and impeccably white tights. Her feet, which swayed back and forth underneath her chair, were pampered with shiny, black shoes without a single cuff. She was very wise, sophisticated beyond her kindergarten years" (169). Unlike Kathy, Tiff was simple and wore, "green and red plaid pants and [a] yellow shirt with tiny, blue stars [which] showed the days wear between breakfast, lunch, and recess" (169) They were completely different people and different characteristics, yet the author followed her around and wanted to be just like her. She wanted to be like Kathy, the "perfect" girl, because she was popular and seemed to have a great life. Kathy tried to show off her things and the fact that guys wanted to invite her places. Then the author comes to realize that Kathy is nothing without her friends and material things because she is something she does not want to be. One day Kathy came into the library and could not find her friends anywhere and since she didn't want to be seen alone, she sat with the Tiff. But as soon as Kathy's friends arrived she acted as though Tiff did not exist. After this encounter the author sees she is the "powerful one," because she is independent. She might not have all the materialistic things Kathy has but at least the author doesn't have to pretend to be someone she is not. She unlike Kathy is comfortable with who she is. She does not wear a mask.
I can relate to the author of Masks because of the experience I had with my cousin. The funny part is that even before that experience, my parents always taught me to be independent and to think for myself, yet I was unable to not follow my cousin. Masks shows how if people become more independent and realize that being an individual is more powerful than following the majority because it gives you a sense of control and leadership. I completely agree with that idea because if someone is independent they are able to be responsible and keep focus on a goal. Since I have been taught this since I was a little kid, including my experience with my cousin, it actually helped me get by high school (my teenage years) in a much more successful way; my goal being graduating high school. Considering that many students drop out because they rather go out with their "friends" than to be in school. Or so they think, since they want to be "cool" they go with the flow. This going with the flow model makes people be followers instead of being leaders. Yes, some people that go with the flow can be leaders but only if they have already established themselves as an individual and know who they are. In order to have that advantage people must have been a leader at some time in their life.
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The article Masks and my experience ties into the article, Why Do Teenagers Get Tattoos? A Response to Andres Martin, which explains how teenagers want to be seen as different, they want to stand out by getting tattoos, because it gives them an identity. Sean Barry defies what Martin said about tattoos in his article, On Teenagers and Tattoos. In his article Martin establishes that he believes teenagers get tattoos for three reasons, control, rebelling, and for making relationships more real. Barry then starts out with relating tattooing to the reader and his experiences with tattoos, and then explained Martins view on teenagers getting tattoos. He then brings it back to his point of view and makes his view much stronger. Barry thinks Martin over exaggerated about why teenagers get tattoos because he over generalizes too much. He thinks that tattoos actually give teenagers an "individual identity." Barry then agrees with some statements written by Martin and slowly goes against him until he gets his opinion to sound much stronger. Barry is able to shows he understands Martin and yet finds that tattoos bring a sense of identifications and individualism for people. He also explains how other methods are now used to show rebellion because tattoos have become such more accepted and common now. Teens have begun to use extreme piercings as a rebellious attitude. Barry goes on by concluding with agreeing that Martin did a good job showing a psychological response to tattoos but that he has limited his argument to generalizations, therefore, tattooing is used as a sense of individual identification rather than rebellion.
I agree with Sean Barry because it is true that many people now have tattoos and it has become a sign of individualism rather than rebellion. Many people I know have gotten their tattoos because it represents a moment in their life in which they have overcome something or want to remember a moment or person in their life forever. I actually want to get a few tattoos myself which I have designed. One of them is a tiger on my back which would represent courage and strength. Another one is a symbol of a turtle which represents living life by enjoying every moment and its surroundings, as well as patients. I want to get these tattoos because they represent who I am and what I have been through. They are not a sign of rebellion at all; if that were the case then I wouldn't even know what the tattoos represent or would have just said I want them because they look "cool." That is why I disagree in the fact that teenagers use it as a sign of rebellion because I think that the person getting a tattoo is usually completely sure of what they want and are at an age that they know what they are doing. I know plenty of teenagers who have gotten tattoos and have a story behind each one. They feel like the tattoos help them remember and embrace a moment in their life. Plus, people wonder when looking at you, why you got tattoos. It makes you stand out from the crowd. The truth is that depending of people's experience one learns to handle situations and learns who they are; they find their identity that way. Tattoos just give then a symbol of individualism.
The two articles give great ideas on how people find their identity but approached it differently. In Masks the author uses a story telling style to be able to both entertain and inform about finding ones identity. Realizing who we really are and why we are stronger when independent and not when following others in order to be popular. This style is more attractive to readers because they can relate to the story more and build a sense of emotion. With the experience the author shows she makes her view much stronger than using a close structure which was used in Why Do Teenagers Get Tattoos? A Response to Andres Martin. Sean Barry makes his view completely clear but does not grab much attention from the readers with his style. But what he does do is relate to the audience by giving examples of why people would get tattoos and why Martin's opinion was not relevant and over generalized. Barry comes to a conclusion of individuality from the tattoos rather than a realization like in Masks.
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To find ones identity one has to experience life. People build their characteristics by each experience they have as well as interactions in their social life. I feel that there are only two types of people in the world, those who just want to fit in and those who are just themselves. The people who want to be themselves then want to be seen as different from others. That is when the ideas with tattoos come into place and when they realize they have a strong will. Just like when I realized following my cousin example wasn't always the best way to go. In the article Masks, the author also becomes aware of her independence. She sees that having a lot of materialistic things and only relying on being this exterior "perfection" will get you nowhere. There are times when people have to make their own choices and become responsible. They need to become independent. Finding your identity is overcoming the fear of being yourself.