Identity Essay

Ryan DeLuca

Jan 26, 2019

Eng 123

Dr. Drown


Identities, what is there purpose?

In class one day I was given a couple of questions to throw around in my head and to some critical thinking with. They were, what is an identity? What do Identities do for us? And Why do they matter? These questions were very difficult to answer because they are the type of question you have to answer from a personal prospective for example I think an identity is something you create and want to be known by.

While I was reading “A toast story” by John Gravis my initial thought was, “what does this have to do with Identities?” Once I read more into the story it got to a part of the story that started to make sense to me as to why this story was chosen. The story started getting into where the “fancy toast craze” came from, the origins of the “fancy toast craze” came from a small cramped former dog groomer made coffee shop. The owner of the coffee shop is a woman with a story to tell, her name is Carrelli, her story started when she was a freshman in college, she had been burning through friends and places to stay because she suffers from a rare disorder called “schizoaffective disorder, a condition that combines symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolarity.” Her disorder seemed to be difficult to live with, but she didn’t let it bother but it did bother some of the people around her. This was the main cause of her misfortune with some of her friends and landlords because of her disorder she was “susceptible to both psychotic episodes and bouts of either mania or depression”. Her land lords and friends thought she was too much to deal with so they sadly left her by herself.

Once she finished college she had enough of being left in the dark by her small group of friends and getting kicked out by her landlords, so she started making a network of people she could become acquainted with, once she moved to china beach California and worked at a coffee shop for a little bit before starting her network. He thought was if she had a big group of friends she wouldn’t be alone if a few of her friends left her. She got the idea of opening her own coffee shop from her boss and an old man who sunbathed in the same spot on china beach every day, she had made a friendship with this old man. After she finished working for the coffee shop she started making her presence known by just walking up to people and saying hi and introducing herself, she would eventually gather enough people she could count on and would borrow money to buy what used to be a former dog groomer to turn into her coffee shop. “She called the shop Trouble, in honor of all the people who helped her when she was in trouble.” Her shop became her identity in this small area of China beach California, and it was for a good reason she made this shop her identity, she stuck to the same schedule because she wanted people in her area to be able to recognize her and help her if she was having one of her episodes. People would recognize her as the owner of Trouble coffee and coconut club.

Her menu items seem peculiar but have meaning behind them as well. She serves coconuts, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice that she named yoko because of the high source of vitamin C, the toast on her menu represents comfort, toast represents comfort because it reminds her of home her mom used to make toast for her as a kid. Her coffee represents communication and speed because when you drink coffee your brains speed increases and you have better communication. The coconuts on her menu represent survival because this is what she lived off of when she was having a hard time with money, she also lived off of grapefruit juice and coconuts for about three years.

Carrelli’s made an identity for herself, her identity is the owner of Trouble, this may have saved her life and made her able to have something to keep her whole. The same goes for other people, identities make us whole they make us who we are, and everyone can have many different identities such as someone can be a father or mother at home but then at work they are the head of their department. The identities we give ourselves are given for a purpose, we have no idea of who we are if we don’t give ourselves an identity.

One example about identity I want to write about is race, in the article it stated that during the industrial age in Americas life, skin color became a big factor in your identity. Blacks were seen to be lesser and lower on the totem pole than people of white color. This type of identity during this time period was very dangerous, because black people were slaves during this time. This is a good example of how other people put labels on other people and make their identities a reality. With this example blacks were enslaved, they were beaten and worked to death, during this time white people were taught the belief that blacks are lesser to whites and that’s why they worked them to death without pay, in some circumstances they weren’t allowed to marry either.

Another concept about identities is that they change with every situation you are in or where ever you are. For example, when a professor is at school their identity at school is a professor or teacher, and then when the professor goes home they become a husband or wife or even mother and father. Your identity changes with every situation or task you are doing, a different task from mother, father or teacher would be when you go to the mall you become a shopper and to other shoppers in the mall you are an ignorant ass hole and the cycle continues.

Identities are important to us they give us meaning in life they make us who we are they allow us to identify other people around us, they allow us to be sentimental towards the people we consider worthy of our most important identities, the friend identity, the significant other identity and even the mother and father identity. Even though identities are something humans made up just like we made up daylight savings time, they serve a purpose we just cant live without.










Works Cited


Gravois, John. “How Did Toast Become the Latest Artisanal Food Craze?” Pacific Standard, Pacific Standard, 13 Jan. 2014,

Illing, Sean. “Why Identity Is a Lie We Can’t Live Without.”, Vox Media, 2 Nov. 2018,

2 Replies to “Identity Essay”

  1. Hi Ryan,

    I’d love your introduction to be more in the “conversational” style we used last semester. In the intro provide readers with access to the conversation (about identity) you’ve been eavesdropping on (Appiah and the Toast story), stake out a part of the conversation to join, then present your initial point of view. Right now it introduces the topic as if no one else has influenced your thinking or had a viewpoint on it.

    If you can, you should really end the intro with a controlling idea (or question) that demands more writing to explain or answer. Without that, the organization of the paper seems a little random. Look at the topic sentences of each body paragraph and you’ll see. For example, as a reader, I’m not sure for what purpose you’re telling me about Giullietta Carrelli. You signal that I’m supposed to think about it in terms of identity, but that one word – identity – isn’t enough to go on. Maybe you meant to suggest that we don’t often think that identity does work for us, but that it does, as GC’s case reveals. So as you work on your next paper, help the reader see what questions you want them to apply your examples to.

    We’ll have time later in the semester to take up some of the racial questions you raise here, with some interesting material to think with.

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