Alan Watts said, ‘Trying to define yourself is, like trying to bite your own teeth.’ The task of finding personal identity is to define the quality of a human which makes him or her a unique self. For some people, it is an easy effort, and they are more accepting of the outcome of differences, whereas some struggle and might not be willing to accept these differences. In the poem, ‘Identity’ by Julio Polanco and the poem ‘War Within Myself’ by Daniel.K, the subject of identity, and individuality is portrayed with theme variation. In the poem ‘Identity’, the theme revolves around the idea that physical appearances are not substantial, but the key thing is the character, freedom, and liberty which shapes the personality, whereas in the poem ‘War Within Myself’ the theme is that to overcome self-conflict is arduous and can cause psychological struggles.
Firstly, in the poem ‘Identity’, the speaker contrasts weeds and flowers which serve as two kinds of lives, to visualize conformity and distinctiveness. The speaker states that ‘Let them be as flowers/Always watered, fed, guarded, admired’ (Line 1-2). The speaker implies that the potted flowers are more guarded, they are ‘always watered, fed, guarded, admired.’, and that the potted flowers also represent conformism within a society. However, being a pretty potted plant comes at the cost of being ‘harnessed to a port of dirt’, In this way the speaker draws the conclusion that though it may be simpler to adhere to what a group of people assumes beautiful, it comes with costly confinements. On other, the ugly weed represents individuality, the speaker states,’ Clinging on cliffs, like an eagle/ Wind wavering above high, jagged rocks'(Line 5-6). Even though not as pretty, the weed is disengaged, and unlike the multitude of potted flowers, there is particularly one vile weed. The speaker claims that even though it may be more subtle and less classically appealing to have a sole identity, it is intrinsically pleasanter. The speaker continues to speak about a sole identity awash in a constrained group culture by addressing that the flowers have what they require, and they have no fear of going without them. The sun will continue to shine its light on them, and they will always have suitors, but they must linger on where they are, at the mercy of those who tend to them. These handlers take care, but they may also pluck the flowers from their bed.
The speaker does not want to be a flower but would rather be free because he wants to have contact with the ‘madness of the world.’ He’s willing to make some sacrifices for that. He’s willing to be unseen and shunned, as the poem ends with these lines, ‘If I could stand alone, strong and free/ I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed. Inversely, in the poem ‘War Within Myself’, the speaker is talking about self-created uncertainty due to the inner conflicts of a personality which results in the murder of dignity of temperament. Inversely, in the poem ‘War Within Myself’, the speaker is talking about self-created uncertainty due to the inner conflicts of a personality which results in the murder of dignity of temperament. The speaker says, ‘I’m fighting a War Within Myself, and I’m so tired/So nervous, scared like I’m on a high tight wire'(Line 14-15). The speaker enforces that due to his internal conflict, he is getting frustrated like he says ‘So nervous, scared’ in the form of hate, anger, and pain, and in the war of right or wrong, good and bad, sin and blessings, which becomes severe, and then need peace of mind and harmony, in all relations, but he can not achieve these things because of his internal disputes. The speaker points out that the struggle, that he had been facing has prolonged, and now his subjective feelings are causing him to feel his peace of mind is being taken away.
The speaker also makes a connection that these days, life is so busy and there is war in the form of struggle in day to day life, and this creates internal conflicts in personality which makes a person helpless and for him human relations and values become meaningless which are very essential for achieving the satisfaction of mind and sometimes person needs the help of others for finding spiritual healing of his personality and peace of mind. To conclude, in the first poem, the speaker talks about different characters and nature has given them their own beauty in different forms like flowers are attractive and sensitive, but they grew in from the mud and the second character is opposite to the beauty, so the writer is saying the nature is beautiful but the different desires of this materialistic world makes human greedy, and they do not care for their character but run after the beautiful things which makes them selfish, however, in the second poem the speaker says these days life is becoming so busy and mechanical which is making human relations and values meaningless which are very important for achieving the satisfaction of mind and sometimes a person struggles to find spiritual peace of body. Secondly, in the poem ‘Identity’, the speaker articulate about breaking through the shell of his identity and is more accepting of the differences that he possesses. The speaker states, ‘To have broken through the surface of stone/I’d rather smell of musty, green stench/If I could stand alone, strong and free, /I’d rather be a tall, ugly, weed (Lines 7,19,21,22). The speaker signifies that he has ‘broken through ‘ the barriers of differences in his character which used to be an unbreakable ‘surface of stones’.
The speaker wants to achieve his ambitions which are on a great height and hard to achieve, and for those achievements, he breaks through the shell of his identity by overcoming the weaknesses of his character and transforming them into his strengths, no matter how unpleasant they might be. In this, the speaker is explaining both sides of the reality in which he talks about the negativity and positivity of both the sides and in the end, he is apprehending that both the sides have their own strengths and weaknesses. The speaker also emphasizes that self-acceptance is essential in making the journey of life livelier and comfortable, and it is vital to accept whoever, whatever, wherever the differences came from, and that self-acceptance is clearly the process of befriending the unconditioned self. Comparatively, in the poem ‘War Within Myself’, the speaker is facing internal difficulties and conflicts which prevents him, to recognize his actual character traits in a social setup. The speaker says, ‘I’m tired of the hate, anger, and pain that I feel/I just want my heart and soul to be healed. I want to be able to simply laugh at a joke'(Lines 9,10,11).
In these lines, the speaker wants to explain the agony of his soul, which he is facing due to his internal contradictions and conflicts. Due to the conflicts between hate, anger, and pain, he can not achieve the spiritual peace of mind, and even he can not enjoy the comedy of life. The speaker also carries a strong desire to overcome negative emotions, and replace them with the positivity of different expressions in order to heal heart and soul, but due to his internal war between right and wrong he is confused and not in a position to accept his difference which prevents him to acknowledge and appreciate his character. In the first poem, the speaker is explaining both sides of the reality in which he talks about the negativity and positivity of both the sides and in the end he is apprehending that both the sides have their own strengths and weaknesses and is talking about the self-understanding and the source of change that has its source in mental and emotional morality and insights of the deeper meaning of life, though, in the second poem the speaker wants to live a peaceful life without any regrets and negative, but due to his internal confusions of his personality he can only dream about spiritual peace but he can not achieve that.
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