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Self Discovery Throughout Life English Literature Essay


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Discovering your own individuality, finding oneself, is simply a discovery that is found through the journey of life. Everyone wants to make a difference - to live a life of valuable contribution and the start of that is to realize that human potential has no limits. I believe we all have great amounts of creative power trapped within us, applying your individual strengths, whether it would be through creativity, leadership, or knowledge, we all can unlock that power trapped within us. In the interior of every being lies a compelling urge for change, for growth into a deeper and richer state of existence. We yearn for immortality, freedom and even perfection because it is the essence of our being. Breaking through the limitation of one's personality and lifestyle can be accomplished through a hero's powerful friendship, the struggles throughout a minority's childhood and even through the analysis of our dreams.

Have you ever felt like your friendships was a reflection of your personality? The epic of Gilgamesh is the story of literature's first hero, and his journey through self discovery. Along the way, Gilgamesh discovers that friendship cannot only pave the path to self actualization, but can bring peace to a whole city. He was not known as the hero/leader of Uruk to his natives, but more as a dictator. He was full of anger, and let his ego and hate get the best of him, as an individual. Enkidu, his forever bound companion is an easy loving character. It is the bond between the two and the death of Enkidu that impels Gilgamesh to pursue a quest for immortality. They meet, fight, and grow to love each other, attracting as opposites. It is through their friendship that Gilgamesh becomes less self-centered and less lonesome. Little else in life brings us as much happiness as our relationships with others. We draw to ourselves the relationships we need to help us grow. Through mediation, the process of self expansion, I believe we discover within ourselves the soul qualities of love that we hope fulfill through the relationships we experience throughout our lifetime. Personally, I feel as though friendship is the purest form of relationship. Gilgamesh and Enkidu's friendship express pure love and companionship. "Like a wife you'll love him," expressing how much Gilgamesh grew to truly love Enkidu, letting him into every aspect of his personal life (Gilgamesh 10). The transformation of his personality and outlook on life was so deep and emotional, it is truly certain that friendship can play such a big role in one's self discovery. After Enikdu's death, Gilgamesh mourns over him for 7 days, "he summons his craftsman and makes a funerary statue of his friend" (Gilgamesh 62). He has great trouble accepting his death, he felt as though a part of him was missing. Love is what sparks change in Gilgamesh. He changes Enkidu into a noble man, as Enkidu changes Gilgamesh from a fearless tyrant into an exemplary king and hero. Their connection with each other on such a deep level made it possible for them both to discovery their hidden traits and abilities. They expanded their inner selves, through the purity of friendship and love. From personal experience, friendship is the force that made me into the person I am today. I believe that loving someone with such a passionate connection, opens your heart up to accepting flaws and loving that person for everything they are, which over time reflects on you, transforming you into the person you want to be. I truly believe that my best friend changed me in many ways, in all the right ways. I grew up with her throughout my entire childhood, which is an exceedingly important time of life.

The Epic of Gilgamesh has survived in the world of literature for centuries. However, it is only during the last few decades that autobiographical writing started attracting the attention of academic fields, in such an unparalleled way. A reason for this is that minorities have had such an impact in America because of their cultures as well as many other influences. Autobiography is a way for ethnic minorities to voice their long-silenced experiences, building a sense of self through the organization in writing. Gloria Anzaldua may be upon the most influencing minorities in my life. I will argue that autobiographical writing is a means for Chicana women, particularly Gloria Anzaldua, to build sense and come to terms with pain and suffering that supply the purpose of reading to the world. "I had to leave home so I could find myself, find my own intrinsic nature buried under the personality that had been imposed on me" (Anzaldua 38). This quotation from the novel is what grabbed my attention, which lead me to have such great interest on her story. Although Gloria may have loved her family and wanted to stick by them, she knew that was not the destiny she wanted to pursue. She did not want to follow in the footsteps of someone that lived unnoticed. She chose a different route; she chose to live up to her own expectations, and to find herself as an individual, no matter where it took her. "Women are at the bottom of the ladder one rung above the deviants" (Anzaldua 40). Gloria realized the situation she was in, awareness of a situation must come before inner changes. She wanted to be different, discover life without the limits society put on her based on means of classifications. She discovered herself as an individual. From personal experience, my ancestry is mostly of Hispanic ethnicity. My grandparents emigrated here from Puerto Rico and I grew up hearing stories of what they went through to get here, and I admire them for it every day. Anzaldua realized that one need not conform to the identities deemed "acceptable" by society but realized her true identity through self reflection of past experiences, emotions and beliefs. She had a dream, and she followed it.

Have you ever woken up and said to yourself, "wow, I wonder why I had such a dream?" A medical doctor, Sigmund Freud, discovered 'psyche' or 'soul', while trying to find self discovery through science and art. His self-analysis of dreams goes into a complex process, in which he goes deep into the world of unconscious thoughts. This results in people finding out why they dreamt what they did, and for what. It could mean various things, or it could have one strong meaning, depending on the individuals dream and situation. Freud explains that people start off confused, to the point of being unintelligible, until realization of the deeper meanings the dream might hold, the unconscious nature to the mental process (Freud 297). Personally, I agree with his explanation. After experiencing a random dream, you feel lost and uncertain, but after putting forth more effort to understanding its hidden meanings, you learn to acknowledge what the dream was telling you. "The day residues which instigate dreams are left over from powerful interest on waking life" (Freud 296). This explains that something that has a powerful influence on your life may show up in your dreams, proving how a part of your life may have a more powerful effect on you than you originally imagined. I feel as though dreams do tell a person a lot about themselves. Through dreams I have realized what is more important to me then I may have initially thought, possibly because of denial. Analyzing dreams is more than just answering a baffling question in your mind; it is answering a question about your life. It presents deeper meanings to the thoughts and feelings that you do not necessarily always pay attention to, you discover a part of yourself.

Self discovery whether it would be through a friendship, through your childhood or even through a vivid dream, is something that everybody encounters. One needs to discover themselves for who they are and the traits and emotions they obtain, that make them the person that they are. Self discovery is a process that lives on throughout your entire lifetime; people keep growing and expanding their horizons as a being. You learn and grow consistently, even though you may not always notice it is happening. You keep living on, discovery the potentials of your individuality, making you, 'you'. In the interior of every being lies a compelling urge for change, for growth into a deeper and richer state of existence. We slowly go through life discovering hidden emotions and strengths, unlocking the power trapped within us.

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