Though I would agree with Moller when she says that to label this novel solely as a humanist work about the nature of human identity completely misses the novel's social and political ramifications, the exploration of identity is an interesting facet of the novel to explore. It's also such an obvious part of the novel, that to ignore it is impossible. Lore has three "identities," as represented by the different tenses and perspectives, as we talked about in class. Not only does each Lore's storyline end with a convenient climax, they also begin with a birth. First, her original birth. Then she arrives naked "curled in a fetal position" in a new city (5). Then, she implants herself with a new identity. But the overarching question remains, are these rebirths really new starts, or are they just the same Lore, but in a new environment? I see the novel as presenting two pretty conflicting ideas of identity. The first is that there is some sort of intrinsic identity, that who you are is static, even in the face of a changing environment. At other times, the novel seems to suggest that your identity is based more on other people's perceptions of you than anything inherent within yourself.
Nature is a strong theme in the novel, more so than in a lot of the other novels we're read this semester. It is set soon enough in the future that wild things still exists, but far enough away that they are more precious, so when they do show up, they are significant. Lore describes the trees dying in Spanner's apartment as strong, you can "drench it in acid rain and infest it with parasites, carve initials in its bark and split branch from trunk, and it will survive" (56). External conditions don't wear down the tree, even under outside pressures, it keeps going. Similarly, Lore continues to be Lore even with the outside pressure to be Sal Bird. She wants to adopt Sal Bird's identity, say only the types of things Sal Bird would say, but because she "couldn't bear to see a system fail due to simple ignorance" she knowingly risks being found out (75). There are certain aspects of herself that Lore simply cannot suppress.
At the same time, Lore is strongly affected by her interpersonal relationships. With Spanner, she does some terrible things that she would not have done otherwise. After a particularly bad night, she vomits in disgust at her actions and repeats "It wasn't me, it wasn't meâ€¦" (262). She knows that her old self would be disgusted with what she does now somewhat willingly, as she admits to Spanner. Also, Lore thoroughly discards her identity as a van de Oest after the kidnapping. She dyes her hair, adopts an accent and discards her family as always having been different from her. However, the moment someone besides Spanner learns that she is in fact a van de Oest, she falls back into old patterns. She is a van de Oest. Magyar she said "couldn't just dismiss me, as if I were anyone else" (282). So here, it seems Lore seems to be who other people think Lore is, rather than having an identity based on anything she creates herself.
I'm not sure whether Griffith was trying to push one perspective or the other, though I'm inclined to think that we are more outwardly determined than we would like to think.