Identity, Youth, and Crisis - Chapter 4, Identity Confusion in Life History and Case History Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 4 begins with excerpts from George Bernard Shaw's sketch of his early adult personality and identity fifty years after the fact. Erikson brings out several elements, such as the fact that Shaw despised his family's snobbery. Shaw was also exposed to much music-making as a child but he found this to be intrusively noisy. Shaw felt that while he cared much about being moral he did not feel like himself when he was good. He conceived of himself as the complete outsider, outside of all social institutions. Erikson is impressed that Shaw could integrate all the complex elements in his life.

Erikson then turns to William James, who was obsessed with what he called 'morbid psychology' his entire life. His youth was full of emotional strains and struggles for...

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This section contains 1,087 words
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