How is the representation of self reflected in Slumdog Millionaire?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The presentation of self as seen in Slumdog Millionaire is a complex one.  The constriction of self is shown to be fluid, completely dependent one's experiences and how individuals interact with social reality.  Jamal's identity is seen through flashbacks that are rooted in the idea of his own social interaction.  His identity as a person is tied into social reality.  The presence of Amitabh Bachchan as a cinematic icon in India, the Hindu- Muslim riots, the cramped conditions of a schoolhouse where the teacher throws the book at his head, and his work as a call center telemarketerare all examples of how identity is constructed in a social context.  Jamal is unable to define himself in any other way.  When he says that he "knew the answers to the questions," it is reflection of how his identity from both a cognitive and psychological point of view is understood through social interaction.  Social reality and socialization are critical elements to Jamal's identity.  Perhaps, the only element in his life that transcends social reality, but is rooted in it would be his love for Latika.  This is something that goes beyond social construction, but is a part of it, as he recognizes that the only way he can win her love is through participation in the game show.  Thus, social reality becomes essential in the construction and development of Jamal's