Spring 1993 • Vol. XV No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1993 |

Rethinking Identification: Kennedy, Freud, Brecht

[My Great-Aunt Ella] was a little touched in the head, Aunt Mary told me once. What's "touched in the head?" I asked. "Oh," she said, "she used to sit up in the trees and sing. You're the spitting image of her." Why, I wondered, did I have to look like someone dead who was "touched in the head"? It is clear now that it was Jane Eyre (the child) I identified with, and the growing young woman's dilemmas of the Bette Davis character in Now, Voyager. ADRIENNE KENNEDY, People Who Led to My Plays1 Identity. Identification. Sharing the Latin root, idem, for same, few terms in contemporary theory are so mutually destructive. Whether identity is understood as constructed (thus changeable) or as essentialist (immanent, eternal), any attempt to describe identity implies consistency and continuity of being: a felt, experiential self-sameness. Identification, on the other hand, is pure act--an unconscious doing that only afterwards can be described and understood. Drawing another in

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