Marcia and Calvino: Great Minds Think Alike?

Essay by twinkle82University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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When reading Italo Calvino's Nonexistent Knight, it is easy to consider that he may have based his characters on Marcia's theory of identity development. Or when studying Marcia's theory of identity development, it is easy to ponder whether or not he developed his theory based on the actions of Calvino's characters. Neither of these instances, however, is the case. It would be anachronistic to say Calvino's book was influenced by Marcia's theory, and it would be illogical to believe that Marcia based his theory solely on fictional characters, especially one who doesn't really exist! Nevertheless, there are striking similarities between the thought patterns of these two men and their understanding of human nature.

Marcia's theory of identity development expands on Erikson's fifth stage of psychosocial development, which is the stage of identity versus identity confusion. In applications of his theory, Marcia examines the interactions and the resulting effects of identity exploration and identity commitment.

He then categorizes individuals into one of three fours groups based on their levels of both commitment and exploration. These categorizations are designed to pinpoint where an individual is in regards to his or her identity development.

If an individual has not engaged in any identity exploration and has no commitment to any identity or any ideals, the individual is said to be identity-diffused. Gurduloo serves as a terrific as an identity-diffused individual. He doesn't even have any commitment to a name! Whatever Gurduloo is around, Gurduloo becomes, whether it is soup, a ball or tree. He has no sense of individuality or identity at all, and shows no commitment to any identity. Gurduloo is not actively exploring identity options either. While he does show a wide variance in his choices of objects to imitate, Gurduloo does not seriously consider any choice. He simply becomes...