Wenhan Zhang

Master of Arts in Teaching

“Who am I?” is one of the most essential questions for most people. Many of us started to ask this question when we were children, but as time went by, we often stopped such questioning. Everyone is motivated by his desires or something or someone, so no one can say he has 100 percent free will. In that sense, everyone is a puppet manipulated by his desire. It’s not he’s living, but his desire: when his desire comes to manipulate him, he lives; when his desire is gone, he is gone. My aim is to use the process of creating and performing with puppets to learn more about myself. Puppets are different versions of their creators, and they are their creators’ split personalities. The sociologist Erving Goffman believed that life is a performance in which we are playing roles without awareness. On the stage of reality, we feel everything is under our control and never question what is driving us. We rarely have an analysis of our intentions. On the puppets stage, puppets are living in another world and have certain personalities and stories. Puppeteers are not only manipulating but also experiencing another life. I believe there must be some connections between their worlds and our world. Every culture has puppets, so when students are making puppets, they are also learning about different cultures. Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argued that because of accelerating globalization and increasing immigration no culture is isolated from others. Puppets can become bridges between worlds, and they may also serve as a bridge between internal worlds and external worlds.