Essays about names and identity

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essays about names and identity

Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity by Becky W. Thompson

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Published 28.12.2018

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Names and Identity

Sometimes we try to live up to our names. Sometimes we try to run away from them. But either way — and for all the options in between — your name is a crucial factor in developing your sense of self, and thus helps propel you forward on various paths of life and career. The term nominative determinism was coined in a issue of New Scientist to describe this phenomenon. The magazine's editors noticed two instances of scientists gravitating toward subjects that were strangely linked to their last names. Maybe it's just a coincidence. Or maybe these scientists' names really did influence their career paths.

However, now I am able to take the time and realize that even though I have not thought deeply about it my entire life has influenced my identity. Ever since I can remember, one of the most important things in my life has been my family and friends. I have been very lucky because I grew up in a family where I could be myself…. My identity is the essence of my existence. It is affected by my family, faith, life events, location and the people around me, and it affects my actions, thoughts, words, and goals. Each person builds their identity in different ways. While I put more emphasis on religion and family, other may put is more on ethnic background and friends.

Our names, being the gift of others, must be made our own. What does our name reveal to others about our identity? It is a response to a familiar experience: introducing oneself to a group of strangers.
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You know how looking at a math problem similar to the one you're stuck on can help you get unstuck? Reading example essays works the same way! - Our names: our school pegs, our register entries, an ID badge, a passport, a bank account, a driving licence, how we introduce ourselves. For people who have been adopted we often have two, or perhaps more depending on the nature of our transitions.

Have you considered your identity through your name? This is an important topic to my wife and I as our daughter is due in 8 weeks. Like almost every parent, we want her name to carry significance. We want it to embody a legacy to impact her generation. No big deal.


  1. Maruja O. says:

    T he authors of this essay on names have just identified themselves.

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