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ABSTRACT. This essay starts from Jacques Lacan’s theory that claims that all humans perceive themselves as fundamentally lacking, and try to reach wholeness throughout their life, though this imaginary wholeness cannot be achieved. I claim that our perception of ourselves as flawed and with the potential for purifying our identity can lead to the violence of identity (violence toward ourselves and others). I have found that those who write from “the margins” (such as writers of nontraditional ethnicities) are more open to an identity that does not strive for wholeness but for acceptance and relationality, which is a less violent way to see identity. Rudolfo Anaya’s novel Tortuga is a good example of an alternate way of looking at identity. This novel contains a central metaphor of disease representing the lacking, flawed identity. The character, Tortuga, goes through a journey of self-discovery, at the end of which he reaches personal healing when he understands that his life path toward healing is that of an artist – a writer – who will incorporate in his art the stories of people he met along the way. pp. 140–151

Keywords: identity; art; metaphor; myth; otherness

Liana Vrajitoru Andreasen
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South Texas College, United States of America

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