Identity Formation and the Clash between Individual Identity and Multiple Social Roles in Lessing’s “To Room Nineteen”

Ebru Çeker

It is not easy to make a certain definition of identity because it is a complex and ambiguous concept. In a broad sense, it is the combination of all integral agents that make up the self. These agents consist of gender, nationality, race, culture, social status, age, religion, and so on. In their struggle to discover their self-identity, people may regard some of these elements as more important and distinctive than others. Therefore, some differences are tolerated while some others are marked by people and it is this everlasting classification process that constitutes their identity. In this paper, Lessing’s short story “To Room Nineteen” is analyzed in terms of the identity problems of the protagonist who clearly has difficulty in defining her place in life as an individual. The ongoing identity formation process of the protagonist and the events and developments that influence this process are analyzed.

Keywords: Identity, individual identity, identity clash, social roles.