Chopin’s story is about how one is “enslaved” to their beliefs,
possibly due to societal expectations and constraints. Irony also plays a
large part in this story as well.
Charles Chesnutt writes about the implications of “colorism.” Those
who were born with skin that either matched or was lighter than a paper
bag could pass for white. However, the dilemma of fitting in with
mainstream culture often meant a change or loss of identity.
Sui Sin Far’s work gives voice to the challenges of adjusting to an
“Americanized” way of life. Chinese Americans are strongly connected to
their culture of past generations. But, the young seem to sway towards
American ideals, which can cause confusion for the older generation who
hold strong to their beliefs.
How do these stories represent the
fluidity or changeable nature of identity? Think about the ways identity
is defined, whether personally, socially, or culturally. What is the
effect of “buying into” or believing that those who are different
(define this how you want, within reason) should conform to
specific societal mores?