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Self-Evaluative Essay

From culture and identity to the ideology of love and politics, the readings and operas viewed in this course have expanded my learning, knowledge and insight into a number of diverse aspects of self, others and community. Among our readings and opera viewings, there are three particular works that stand out to me as having the most influence on my own development and understanding: Graham GreeneÆs (2004) The Quiet American; Sandra CisnerosÆ (1984) The House on Mango Street; and, Giuseppe VerdiÆs La Traviata. This analysis will reflect on how these works influence my own understanding and development in three areas: identity, culture and love.

As an Iranian woman, Graham GreenÆs (2004) The Quiet American had a profound impact on my understanding and knowledge of how political ideologies that are culturally produced are often imposed on others as though they are absolute truths and values. All too often, this type of mentality is responsible for shaping the identity of another culture as one that is ôinferiorö by a dominant culture, in order to justify the dominant cultureÆs superior notions of its own identity, values and culture. GreeneÆs (2004) protagonist appears to me to embody similar values to contemporary Americans fighting for democracy and freedom in Iraq. They perceive themselves as doing ôgoodö against the forces of ôevil,ö in a similar manner to Pyle, holding up their own ideals, beliefs and values as superior notions of identity and culture compares to Iraqis. This is why Fowler attempts to disabuse Pyle from the notions he gleaned from York Harding about a ôThird Force.ö This ôThird Force,ö he tells Pyle, ôàcomes out of a book, thatÆs all. General TheÆs only a bandit with a few thousand men, heÆs not a national democracyö (Greene, 2004, p. 205).

Culture, identity and love are also areas of increased knowledge and understanding for me due to Cisnero


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