This week I attend the showing of Girl Rising, a movie that tells the stories of nine girls who were born in a society that prevented them from attending school. These nine girls all had their own individual identity, however societal restraints limited the their identity. In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will, there are also many identity crises that exist, but these identity problems are not due to societal constraints; they are from the ignorance of the characters to themselves and to others. The problem of identity restrictions and identity awareness is something that each individual character in both the play and the movie.
Viola is the character in the play that has the most complex identity issues. She is forced in the beginning of the play to go in disguise in order to survive. By dressing up and pretending to be Cesario, a male servant working for Duke Orsino, she is undergoing her first identity crisis. Although she is pretending to be someone else, she is ultimately revealing her maturity, bravery, and wisdom. After facing the fact that she is in an unknown city with no clothes and money she come to her sense and makes sacrifices in order to survive. Viola, throughout the play, demonstrates her resourcefulness and courage, even when she gets tangled in her love triangle. In contrast to Viola’s intelligence is the ignorance of many of the other characters. Most of the other characters are not able to see the true genuine goodness in life, and that is why they are unable to see Viola’s true identity. At the end of the play when Viola unveils her true identity, her and Orsino end up together. Their unity reveals that Orsino, although it took much time, ultimately recognized what love and good are. What also strengthened their relationship is because of the fact it started with a genuine friendship. All the characters in Shakespeare’s play both have an inward and outward identity that is completely different.
Like Shakespeare’s characters, the girls in Girl Rising have an inward and outward identity: one that is genuine, and one that is the outward disguise. Girl Rising made me reflect on my identity, my society, and my education. It made me feel grateful and appreciative for things I might take for granted. Education was something that was limited to most girls in the movie; however, this movie demonstrated that educating one girl can changes societies and generations to come. If girls are not educated they are likely to be married young under the age 18 living a life that is not theirs, but a life and identity that they are forced to accept. Today there are 66 million girls that are uneducated. This statement rattled my thoughts because I attend a university where women are the majority. As an educated woman, I want to be force of change to as much of an extent as I can. These girls lived such a hard life with a forced and restricted identity, yet they were the sources of change in their culture by taking risks and revealing their identity. Education and someone’s true identity, characterized by bravery, courage, and determination are potentially the most powerful change a young girl can experience in her life.
After being at Loyola for almost three chile semester, I am understanding now why people say appreciate the time at school. Each week goes by so quickly that I can not believe how much I am learning and experience both on campus and in Baltimore. Since I am a biology major, it is no surprise that I feel the most vulnerable and weak in an English classroom. However, this class led to me to recognize a different side of myself. I really enjoyed the poems that we read throughout the semester. I was also shocked by how much a poem can say, without actually saying it. I now developed the ability to read a poem and figure out the meaning other then using the words on the page. Learning the techniques to analyze literature is definitely the most surprising thing that i developed all semester, and I really appreciate it.