Entering, Exiting, and Identity

 Entering “The Matrix” with my students never fails to dominate my cognitive time, though this time will be different.

This time, instead of an emphasis on the construction of meaning through cinematic devices, I will enter the film spending time on the construction of identity, and hopefully the students will exit the film with greater understanding.

You see, my students have an essay on The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and this is the prompt:

To what extent do relationships contribute to the central character’s identity and ultimate understanding of self in the novel.

To get some ideas for writing the essay, we tried some mind mapping about identity, like this

and I came across a more advanced mind map on identity like this

from an interesting artist, River Hunt, which led me to this very cool online interactive piece of art called, “My Life in Post It Notes”  http://www.riverhunt.org/digital/post-it-notes/my-life-in-post-it-notes.html

But back to the focus of this post – “The Matrix” and identity.

The main character in the film has two identities: one in the space of “the Matrix”, and one in the space of the “real world”. He learns about himself largely through his relationships with Morpheus, Agent Smith, the Oracle, and Trinity. He has to exit the Matrix, then enter the Matrix again to understand.

Many people complain about the violence in the film, but I think some of it is necessary to understanding systems and ourselves within systems.

Whatever thresholds of identity we enter or exit, like characters in “The Matrix”, conflict is essential to understanding ourselves.

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About melaniewhite2012

I am a high school English and Media Studies Teacher, an editor, and writer of educational publications for McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Ltd, and a mother of three. I distance run, exist largely on raw food, fresh air and sunshine, good literature, thoughtful radio, film, and laughter.
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