In Drawing Life, Thomas J. Cottle examines the ways people interpret their life experiences and construct meanings for the events they have encountered. In this manner, they discover their various identities and the essence of what we call the self. In reading the sixteen life studies contained in this volume, we encounter both inner reflections as well the power of culture to shape the meanings people give to their circumstances and the events that befall them. The stories also reflect the role of human relationships and social institutions in defining our personal identities and sense of justice. What makes us unique, therefore, is the personal story we tell as it reveals our constructions of the world and of ourselves. The stories recounted in Drawing Life illuminate not only our past, but also our perceptions of the present and our imaginings of the future. In this way, they become anthologies of our life experiences.
Narratives and the Sense of Self