Anglais Approfondi – Notion : finding oneself

FINDING ONESELF

The expression « finding oneself » refers to knowing yourself. Finding out who you are and what you want. It means, ask yourself questions about what is important to you. Or more exactly, what you like or dislike and how you feel about differents things.

Futhermore, we can make a link with this notion and the term « journey of self-discovery ». It refers to a travel, a pilgrimage, or series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel, personally, about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends, neighborhood or peer pressure.

However the fact of finding oneself is different for everyone because it depends of the individual. Indeed, the desire of finding oneself can have different origins, with different outcomes. For exemple, people can try to find themself because of the coming of age. It can be about reaching maturity, from childhood to adulthood. Or just trying to be happier.

So we might ask, what are the different ways to find oneself ?

Firstly, we can mention the case of the main character in the movie, Into the Wild. Into the Wild is a biographical drama film directed by Sean Penn in 2007. It is an adaptation of the 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer based on the travels of Christopher McCandless across North America and his life spent in the Alaskan wilderness in the early 1990s.

In this movie, the main character try to find himself by cutting of to his previous life and by lead an introspection. He rejects all kind of materialism and he wants to live in harmony with the wilderness.
According to him, his quest is neverending. It implies to moving and discovering all the wild nature, alone. However, in his case, his way of thinking and his rejection of society are a bit too extrem. He tries to convince his friends that his way of life is an example to follow. The main character does an inner struggle and lives a life of helter skelter. So we can conclude that, for some people, the fact of finding oneself involves a total abandonment of the past and breaking with the former self and conformity. It deals with a pursuit of freedom and adventure. However, the fact of finding oneself has certain limits to not exceed before it becomes dangerous.

Finally, let’s move to the Woody Allen film. Whatever Works is a 2009 American comedy film. Boris Yelnikoff is a misanthropic chess teacher and former Columbia

professor. Divorced, he eschews human contact except for his friends and students, criticizing everyone he meets for not matching him intellectually.Boris Yelnikoff is a misanthropic chess teacher and former Columbia professor. Divorced, he eschews human contact except for his friends and students, criticizing everyone he meets for not matching him intellectually. He changes when he he meets Melodie, a simpleminded 21-year-old, lying on his doorstep. This story led him to adopt a very pragmatic philosophy away from principles that animated him « whatever works » or « as long as it works. ». So, according to this movie, the fact of finding oneself works by living in the community and talking with others people, even if they seem very different from us. For exemple, Boris who is neurotic learns things about life thanks to Melodie, who is his complete opposite. Same thing for Melodie’s parents. They learn things about theirself, they completely change their lives and become truly happy.

To conclude,  we can say that the willingness to try to finding oneself depends on the individual. Its origin, its purpose or its outcome is different for each individual. There are differents ways to find oneself and the best is the one which fits best to our personality.
To illustrate the notion «Finding oneself» I chose to talk about one of my favorite movie, Fight Club. First of all, I will introduce the film.

Fight Club is a 1999 American film based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film was directed by David Fincher and stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. It was cited as one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1999. However, the film later found commercial success, which established Fight Club as a cult film.

The narrator of this movie, a unnamed protagonist represents an «everyman». He can’t find satisfaction in his job and his life in general. After a flight home from a business trip, the narrator finds his apartment destroyed by an explosion. He calls Tyler Durden, a soap salesman whom he befriended on the flight , and they meet at a bar. A conversation about consumerism leads Tyler inviting the narrator to stay at his place. Outside the bar, he requests that the narrator to hit him. The two engage in a fistfight, and the narrator subsequently moves into Tyler’s dilapidated house. They have further fights outside the bar, and these attract a crowd of men. The fighting moves to the bar’s basement where the men form a «Fight Club», an illegal club that allows its members to vent their unhappiness thanks to violence.

Under Tyler’s leadership, more fight clubs form across the country. They become the anti-materialist and anti-corporate organization called «Project Mayhem». The narrator complains to Tyler that he wants to be more involved in the organization, but Tyler suddenly disappears. The narrator decides to follow evidence of Tyler’s national travels to track him down.

In one city, a member of the Fight Club greats the narrator and call him Tyler Durden. Shocked, he returned to the hotel and sees Tyler. He explains that they are dissociated personnalities in the same body. Tyler represents the masculine ideal of perfection of the narrator. He controls the narrator’s body when he is asleep.

In my opinion, we can establish a link between this movie and one of the themes of our lesson : The pursuit of happiness.

Indeed, Fight Club is the story of people who are bored by their life, desperately seeking a purpose. In private, their activities lead them so close to death that they more alive than ever. They learn to fight in a basement, but they also learn to fight the battle of life which they abandoned in public. Weekend by weekend, they learn self transendence and to overcome their fears. Moreover, the narrator’s mind has fabricated and ideal that embodies everything that is not, and he dreams of being : Tyler Durden.

Futhermore, this ideal has completely taken possession of him, and distorted reality so that it looks as he wanted to see. Running behind everything he dreams of being, he realizes he is doomed to self destruction.

So, nevertheless, the purpose of the main character was to find happiness.

We may as well mention, that Fight Club was a coming of age film. The narrator can’t find happiness , so the travels on a a path to enlightenment in which he must «kill», symbolically his God. So to complete the process of maturating the narrator has to kill his God, the one who represents the ideal for him, Tyler Durden.

Also, the characters are reduced to a generation of spectators. A culture of advertising defines society’s, external signifiers of happiness, causing an unnecessary chase for material goods that replaces the more essential pursuit of spiritual happiness. So, the main character feels the manipulation of the media and consumer society.

To conclude, in this movie, the main character try to find himself by rejects all materialism and consumerism. He try to find himself by cutting of to his previous life, who was unhappy. So we can conclude that for some people, the fact of finding oneself involves a total abandonment of the past and breaking with the former self and conformuty. It deals with a pursuit of freedom and adventure. However, the fact of finding oneself has certain limits to not exceed before sinking into madness.

I chose to illustrate the notion Finding oneself with this movie because it’s my favorite movie and it’s the first thing that came into my mind when we talked about this theme in class.

One thought on “Anglais Approfondi – Notion : finding oneself

  1. Salut, je suis en Terminal L en Anglais approfondi est je n’ai jamais eu cette notion.. Nous c’est juste on doit choisir 2 des 4 notions.

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