Existence, Identity, God, And Love

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Human identity, as a question and theme, is apparent in several artistic mediums, especially African American and German. Lyrics of spirituals such as, Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, so far away from home address the very nature of existence by pointing out the necessity of certain factors to construct ones identity. In addition, the blues confront identity by expressing feelings of loneliness, despair, and lack of direction and source, which prevent individuals from feeling like their own lives actually have existence or value. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is a literary example of how identity is constructed and prevented in the life of a particular nameless protagonist. The novel points out the protagonists incapability of ever claiming existence, due to his experiences which point out that his color prevent a voice and identity in the society he lives in.

All three of these examples point out the necessity of relationships in the construction of identity.

Spirituals confirm the singer's existence by stating the singers relationship and identification with Jesus and other biblical figures. The blues sing, and therefore use a voice, to address the very thing that negated the voice in the first place. Also, blues songs themselves are often inspired by a sense of loneliness provoked by lost love. This lost love gave the singer a previous feeling of humanness and self affirmation that was revoked upon the lover leaving. The narrator of The Invisible Man points out that the society he lives in does not really care about who he is or what he has to say, and therefore negating his existence and making him "˜invisible'.

Ironically, this has been a concern of German philosophy and arts for the past century as well. Existentialism, expressionism, and new wave cinema all address the question of how to...

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