How do we know who we are? Life deals each of us a hand at birth, and the cards include our sex, our family, our race, our culture, our religion. But do these things truly define us? In this course we’ll meet some young people who are trying to figure this out: Karim, who tries to take the edge off the clash between his Indian heritage and his life in London with the help of sex, drugs and rock and roll; Mookie, who just wants to do the right thing and survive the racial tension in his Brooklyn neighbourhood; Enid, whose ironic intelligence is her only defence against a world full of cultural absurdity; Jing-Mei who needs to come to terms with her parents’ darkest secrets in order to understand her own story; and Jeanette, whose budding sexuality is on a collision course with her mother’s religion.
By reading the novels and watching the films where we get to know these characters we’ll see how they try to make sense of their tangled lives – but we’ll also begin to think about how stories can help each of us understand who we might be.