How does telling stories complicate the process of knowing who you really are

Paper instructions:
Readings
Leslie Bell, “Selections from Hard to Get” 24–41; and
Martha Stout, “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, It Was Friday,” pp. 420–37.
Prompt Question
Martha Stout presents how the relationship between a therapist and her patients changes through time to get to “the truth about yourself” (437). Leslie Bell looks at how young women try out different identity options in order to practice more autonomy in sexuality, relationships, and professional life. Both identify storytelling as one way to negotiate interdependent relationships and achieve personal independence.
Using close-reading techniques and drawing evidence from key points in both texts, write an essay that answers the question in bold.
How does telling stories complicate the process of knowing who you really are?
Food for thought
The following questions may help you imagine different approaches to the main prompt in bold. They are intended only to support you in developing your argument. Please don’t try to answer them all in your paper. If they aren’t helping you think, ignore them.
Why is Bell so interested in the “unsettled nature” of young adulthood (Bell 29). How do Jayanthi’s and Alicia’s experiences resemble those of Seth and Julia? How are they different?
Reflect on how Bell’s informants describe their own life stories. How do their descriptions give them some control over their lives?
Stout claims that traumatic sensations and feelings “belong to no narrative, no place or time, no story she [Beverly] can tell about herself” (Stout 422). Bell emphasizes how, for some, “stories” (33) accumulate to support an alternative identity. Why are stories significant for forming memories and identities?
Why doesn’t creating stories about yourself result in self-deception? Or does it? How is splitting fundamentally different than “divided awareness” (Stout 423)?
How would you characterize the relationship between Stout and her patients? How would you characterize the relationship between Bell and her patients?
How do social factors influence individual development in Stout? in Bell?
Play is a feature of identity development in Stout (429 ff.) and in Bell (41 ff.). Why is play significant for these psychologists?
Leslie Bell, “Selections from Hard to Get” 24–41; and
Martha Stout, “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, It Was Friday,” pp. 420–37

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