What is the author's message about identity in "Roselily"?

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The author's message about identity in "Roselily" is that constructing an identity is a never-ending process. This is related to the protagonist's inner conflict during her wedding ceremony. Roselily questions whether getting married and moving to Chicago will make her feel fulfilled. Her inability to determine what she truly desires and trust herself reveals that she does not, and may never, possess a stable sense of self.

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The titular Roselily experiences a crisis revealed in stream-of-consciousness style about how her marriage to the nameless groom will impact her life. While the preacher reads biblical vows, Roselily is lost in thought, exploring her past and predicting her future, questioning whether the impending move to Chicago with her new husband will bring her happiness.

Roselily's musings indicate that she has often felt neglected and inferior in her relationships with men, including the fathers of her children. As a result, Roselily cherishes the blatant affection the groom offers her, but she is dubious about whether this adoration will last once they settle into the routines of everyday life. Furthermore, Roselily knows all too well how men exert their control over their female partners, and she does not look forward to meeting the requirements of a wife according to her Muslim husband's faith.

Roselily reaches the conclusion that she must settle for a semblance of happiness, sacrificing her independence in exchange for love. However, Roselily is suspicious of whether love can be genuine, permanent, and satisfying, since her life heretofore has not reflected these qualities. Roselily's circular thought process suggests that she is unsure of her ability to make decisions yet longs for the confidence and independence to make such decisions unencumbered by others' desires.

This suggests that Roselily's search for a stable identity is a cyclical, endless process that provides few answers to the questions she poses about what will make her happy. As such, the author's comment about identity is that it is tentative, constantly in construction, and nearly impossible to define—especially when one seeks external validation.

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