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Dan Simmons

 Table of Contents

Hyperion Theme of Identity

Your identity is not only how you see yourself, but also how other people see you. Finding your identity is complicated enough for a human, but if you're a human/robot/artificial intelligence hybrid, things suddenly reach a complexity of epic proportions. From the beginning of Hyperion, its characters are labeled: the Soldier, the Scholar, the Poet, and so on. It's easy to let these labels affect your perceptions of the people behind them, and the stories reveal their true natures.

Then there's Johnny. Poor Johnny isn't even sure who or what he is, because he's a cybrid—a combination of human DNA and pre-programmed memories, in this case of a long-dead poet. Yeah, that can be a little confusing. We'd love to say that figuring out his own identity lies within his own hands, but it doesn't. It lies with Brawne's neck. To figure out how, you'll just have to read The Detective's Tale.

Questions About Identity

  1. How does each pilgrim fit into his or her role as Priest, Detective, Scholar, etc.?
  2. Can someone without a name have an identity? Does changing your name change your identity?
  3. Would having someone else's memories change your identity? If you lost your memories, would you lose your identity?
  4. Can you still have a religious identity if everything your religion stood for is gone?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Johnny says he isn't John Keats, but if he acts like Keats, talks like Keats, walks like Keats, and remember the same things Keats did—he's Keats.

The Bikura lack an identity because they lack individuality.

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