Study Guide

Bird by Bird Identity

By Anne Lamott


Shmooper, know thyself.

Easier said than done, right? In fact, figuring out who you are is one of the million-dollar questions in all of literature. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks a lot about what it means to be a writer, what it means to be part of a community, what it means to be shaped by your family, even what it means to be a human being. And who better than a writer to talk about all this? It doesn't get better than getting it from the horse's mouth.

Questions About Identity

  1. How does being a writer shape somebody's identity? Is there something about it that can help us understand ourselves better?
  2. What communities help shape a writer's identity? Family? Friends? Other writers? Anyone else?
  3. Are there things about our identities that make it hard to tell the truth as a writer? Family troubles? Getting bullied in school? Having a hard time making money? Does Lamott think writing about these things, tough as it is, helps us understand ourselves better?

Chew on This

Sometimes the toughest things to write about are the ones that really show us who we are, when we face them.

According to Lamott, you can't become a good writer without wrestling with who you are.

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