Characters Struggling Authenticity Character Authenticity the State Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Characters Struggling Authenticity

Character Authenticity

The state of being authentic in our lives, in our personalities, and in our actions can be a difficult, but important concept to come to terms with. As we grow, events and people in life can shape who we are, and we can choose to be true to ourselves or succumb to pressures and assume an inauthentic identity. In the stories "Signs and Symbols," "The Lady with the Dog," and "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" (written by Vladimir Nabokov, Anton Chekhov, and Leo Tolstoy, respectively), we can examine characters influenced into inauthenticity, and the realization of their example can help us reflect upon the authenticity of our own lives.

Each of the characters in these stories is influenced by a different motivator. Through their judgment of their circumstances, they choose to react in the way they see fit. In "Signs and Symbols," for example, a couple's son has a frightening mental disorder, and they accept it and allow physicians to help him. Throughout the story there are little omens foreboding sinister events, like their bad luck on the way to visiting their son in the hospital and the depiction of the "half-dead unfledged bird" in the puddle (Nabokov). At the end of this story, however, the father chooses to ignore these signs and react lightheartedly, thinking instead that they would be better off bringing their son back home. The father becomes inauthentic in his response to his son's suicide attempt, looking toward a brighter future which all but crumbles with the implied meaning of the telephone call that ends the story. "The Lady with the Dog" also includes a character, Dmitri, who seems constantly inauthentic. He has become accustomed to cheating on his wife with numerous women, all of whom he thinks nothing of, until he meets Anna Sergeyevna (Chekhov). When they part, he becomes inauthentic in his attempt to dismiss her from his mind as though she means nothing. When they begin to see each other again, together they put on a facade of inauthenticity to their spouses, so that their real, authentic lives struggle to continue under the surface of their proper, acceptable lives. In "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," the main character, Ivan, lives his life according to what he thinks…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Chekhov, Anton. "The Lady with the Dog." 26 March 2011. .

Nabokov, Vladimir. "Signs and Symbols." 26 March 2011.

Tolstoy, Leo. "The Death of Ivan Ilyich." The Classical Library. 2001. 26 March 2011.

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