How Should a Person Be? Themes & Motifs

Sheila Heti
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Identity

Identity is an important theme in the novel “How Should a Person Be?” by Sheila Heti. A person’s identity, which includes their purpose and how they come to view and understand themselves, is essential to the plot of the novel. Indeed, the idea of how a person should be is reflected in the very title of the novel itself. This designates the novel-long search of main character Sheila to be who she is meant to be. During the novel, other characters, including Margaux and Sholem, also come to question their identity.

For Sheila to become who she is meant to be, she must first come to accept who she is versus who she thinks she is. This process takes much of the book, and is an ever-evolving process. When the novel begins, Sheila is something of an elitist. She believes she is not like common...

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This section contains 2,087 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the How Should a Person Be? Study Guide
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