Personality as Response to External Factors


A person lives in the space of culture, which accompanies life in all its manifestations. Culture programs the life activities of people and defines its socialized ways. Each individual lives and acts by building his or her life path according to programs that are determined by social conditions and learned cultural attitudes. In the family, a person learns social roles, education, and behavioral skills. In other words, a family is a universal form of origin and organization of cultural life itself. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the relationship between a person’s individuality and external factors that can influence it.

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Main body

A person acquires an individual personality only in the process of socialization, including communication and interaction with society. In modern psychology, there is no doubt that various external conditions, including cultural and family values and traditions, influence the formation of a human personality (Cantor et al. 9). The home environment has a significant impact on human development, especially in childhood: a family usually has its first and decisive moments for personal formation and evolution.

The level of parents’ moral culture, life plans and aspirations, social ties, and family traditions are crucial to a young person’s personal development. Parental love helps to discover and enrich all areas of life in a developing person (Cantor et al. 19). This is also confirmed by the author’s example of family history. The process of mastering hereditary qualities can be explored in more detail through an alternative scenario of family values development. If the author were born in an incomplete family where the father would apply physical and sexual not only to his wife but also to his children, the formation of the author’s individuality would go differently. Human is the integration of how the external environment communicates with the internal content of the personality (Cantor et al. 22). In this connection, the formation of the author’s character in the considered alternative version of family history could go along the path of accepting the father’s social attitudes as the norm or, on the contrary, a complete negation of this lifestyle. In the present family of the author, such cruelty is not observed, and the moral and cultural values of developed parental personalities were reflected in the correct formation of the author’s personality. Beliefs and vital attitudes of parents in the considered family gave to character of the author a vector on personal development and constant self-improvement.

However, it is not very easy to say that the author’s family history is too unique or selective. Most of the values professed by any family are borrowed from environmental culture. Therefore, the important role in the process of acquisition of individuality also plays the cultural code within which there is a person. The spiritual formation of an individual takes place by an appropriation of the social and historical experience of humanity in the process of practical activity. National traditions act as samples in which the best features, qualities of the personality, moral standards are concentrated. In traditions, historically established norms and principles, relations, relationships, and ideals are fixed. Acting as a collective memory, traditions are an integral element of an individual’s ethnic consciousness.

The heroine of the book Everyday Use by Alice Walker has a type of integration of family and cultural values. This story is about the role of cultural heritage for people who are closely associated with it and for people who do not associate themselves with this value. Within this work, a two-way analysis of a literary work is of crucial importance. First, it is essential to note that the short story by Walker is about the life of Mrs. Johnson and her two daughters. As Mrs. Johnson’s second daughter, Maggie, indeed adopted attitudes and habits from her: this can be seen in the lack of ambition, which the girl probably is taken from her mother. The path of life that Maggie has chosen reflects the values adopted by her mother.

Another daughter, Dee, demonstrates an entirely different view of the acceptance of cultural values. It can be said that the girl decided to follow a rebellious way of life, denying the traditions and culture adopted in the family. In particular, by returning home after a long absence, Dee demonstrates a provocative dislike for what is important to her mother (Walker 2). The legacy of the book by Walker, sold through items such as blankets and butterflies, causes interpersonal conflict. It is erroneous to believe that the dispute between Dee and matter is really about who owns the objects in question. Under the pretext of this woman, there is a furious discussion of personality changes caused by external factors and the mismatch between characters. According to Walker, Dee’s life has been dramatically influenced by the cultural code surrounding her: interested in the oppression of black people, and Dee changed her name to a more ethnic one, as well as changing her clothing style (3). All of this together confirms the above words about how cultural values are transmitted between generations and within the environment.


To sum up, it should be noted once again, that culture determines the development of human individuality. Culture and traditions can be passed on between generations in the process of socialization. For this reason, the formation and development of a person’s personality occur primarily due to culture and is impossible without society. What is the formed personality of a person reflects all his or her accumulated experience and how external factors interacted with the character of the person. Culture gives the individual a sense of belonging to the community, cultivates control over his or her behavior, and determines the style of practical life.

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Works Cited

Cantor, Pamela, et al. “Malleability, Plasticity, And Individuality: How Children Learn And Develop In Context1.” Applied Developmental Science, vol. 23, no. 4, 2019, pp. 307-337.

Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. Rutgers University Press, 1994.

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