Experiences Help Shape Our Identities

In Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, I found paragraph 26 to be the most interesting. Here Wilde writes about how people had advised him to forget his past when he entered prison and is now being advised to forget prison when he is released. Wilde describes how if he did this it would be disgraceful as he would be forgetting all of the different experiences that had made him who he had become. He says, “To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul” (Par. 26).

I thought this could be related to Pip’s experiences in Great Expectations as he tried to live up to his expectations in becoming a gentleman, but retrospectively admits that it did not go as he had intended. Although nobody directly told him to forget his past and where he came from young Pip felt as though he had to because he saw his life there with Joe at the forge as an embarrassment after being told by Estella that he was coarse and common. Narrator Pip admits that this was wrong and he is ashamed of the way in which he treated the people who mattered most to him in life.

Through Pip retrospectively narrating his life from childhood to present, it is demonstrated how Pip is trying not to forget all of the experiences that made him who he is now. Throughout the narration as exemplified above, narrator Pip indicates where he may have gone wrong in life and is demonstrating that he has learned from these experiences. Your experiences make you who you are whether they are good or bad. It is up to you to learn from them and better yourself as a result.

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