Belonging Essay

The concept of belonging deals with not only acceptance but also with dejection and alienation. This concept can influence our belonging to a relationship or place by our background and culture. These ideas are explored through Shakespeare’s play “As You Like IT”, the poem “Villane on a Theme” by George Good and the film “Remember the Titans” directed by Boaz Yakin. By analysing the texts in relation to belonging we see a variety of perceptions to belonging in the means of relationships, family and place.

The different contexts in which each text is written explore slightly different ideas that together broaden our understanding on the complexity that is belonging. 109 “As You Like IT” explores the idea of belonging to place heavily throughout. This can be seen with Duke Senior and his belonging to the forest. He says “Are not these woods more free from peril than the envious courts? ” using personification to give the idea that the court because of its people is envious and untrustworthy while the forest is free from lies and deceit.

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This sense of belonging can be contrasted to the end assumption of the play that Duke Senior returns to the court, in which according to the divine order of the context of the play is where he truly should belong. This brings forth the idea that where we want to belong may not be where society makes us belong. 234 The alienations of oneself to avoid belonging can be viewed in the poem “Villane on a Theme”. In the poem the persona does not belong to any group nor does he want to as he would lose his individuality through conforming.

The line “I would not join a club that wanted me” is repeated many times in the poem. This repetition emphasises the idea of rejecting belonging even though society wants you to belong. This expresses that belonging can indeed be a bad thing. The use of dialogue in this first person poem gives a factual, more personal effect as he personally recounts what he said. The line said to Uncle Sam “You don’t want me” provides the idea that his country wants him to belong but again he alienates himself from belonging.

The personification of America as Uncle Sam gives us the effect of America being the persona’s peer which makes the poem more personal and the idea that maybe this rejection of belonging is not the right choice as his peers think him conforming would be better for him. The overall impression of the poem is that belonging is a thing that we must sometimes avoid to keep our individuality. 436 In relation to “As You Like IT” belonging to family is also discussed. This can be seen between the brothers Oliver and Orlando and their father Sir Roland.

The brothers belong to each other physically as seen in the line spoken by Orlando “in the gentle condition of my blood you should so know me” meaning they both have the same father and Oliver should recognise this belonging and treat Orlando with love and respect. Following the divine order of the plays context Oliver, the eldest son has the right to their fathers wealth and respect but wrongly then takes away the gentlemen like qualities from Orlando that belong to him also. Though they should belong to one and other they do not so for the majority of the play.

Adam, their servant leaves Oliver to go with Orlando as he no longer believes Oliver to be the son of his father. “Yet the son- Yet not the son, I will not call him son”. This quote through repetition emphasises the word ‘son’ in order to put the point through that Oliver does not belong to his noble family because of his selfishness. 629 My second related text is “Remember the Titans”. It deals with the story of the black and white population integrating through a high school football team.

The idea of white supremacy is contrasted to the fact of a black man getting the head coach position over a white man. This brings forward the idea that we are all equal in this world and belong just as much as the next person, no matter the colour of our skin. At the training camp Coach Boone takes the team to a battle ground that had black and whites fighting on it against each other on it. He gives an inspiring speech including the line “I killed my brother with malice in my heart” to symbolise himself as the black population who were fighting the whites but in fact they are his brothers in this world.

It expresses that a sense of belonging to the world should be shared throughout the population and that even though people are different in colour they should be able love one and other as family. He also expresses that a sense of belonging to their country is a right they should all have. 825 “As You Like It” also deals with belonging to relationships. This can be seen between Orlando and Rosalind. After first meeting Rosalind, Orlando instantly falls in love.

This is shown in the line “What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?. ” This rhetorical questions is a metaphor to show to us that Orlando becomes somewhat speechless or nervousness in Rosalind’s presence as to not do anything to ruin the image she has of him and he is not quite sure what to say because he has not felt this passionate ever before. This shows he has found a sense of belonging to Rosalind. Contrastingly to this couple Silvius and Phebe do not have a sense of belonging to each other immediately.

Phebe tells Silviis “And if mine eyes can wound, now let me kill thee” meaning she does not want to be with him and would prefer it if he were not in love with her. The hyperbole exaggerates these feelings. Over time though Phebe comes to understand that they belong together . “Thy faith my fancy to thee doth combine” shows she has concluded they belong together and she will no longer fight this. Belonging to relationships could then as a hole be seen as something that there is no set time to realise your sense of belonging. Some find belonging immediately and others will have to search or strive for it. 058 These 3 texts “As You Like It”, “Villane on a Theme” and “Remember the Titans” effectively explore the idea of belonging through family, relationships and place. Each text’s opinion of belonging is different as they reflect the contexts they were written in. With “As You Like It” we see the divine order being maintained while in the much newer movie “Remember the Titans” the moral is that all people belong to the world as equals. Though belonging can be perceived differently through time it will always remain a thing many people will strive to obtain in all of its aspects. 1158


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