Belonging Essay

Shakespeare’s AYLI explores the characters struggles and romances that can affect their sense of belonging. A place and characters and their surroundings can often influence a person’s sense of belonging around others. In AYLI, the play is centred on two main locations. One is the Forest of Arden, and the other is the court of Frederick. Both places impact on the characters sense of belonging because of the environment around them. The court of Frederick is a major contributor to places and the concept of belonging.

The court of Frederick is seen as unnatural in the play. The unnatural setting of the court gives connotations of evil and darkness. The court is symbolic of the lack of belonging which is felt when the natural order is destroyed and baser instincts conquer positive feelings. In scene three act 2 we see Orlando outside his brother’s house, excluded from belonging. Adam quotes, “this is no place, this house is but butchery; abhor it, fear it, do not enter it”. Shakespeare uses imagery such as “butchery” and “fear” in warning him of the dangers of the house.

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This displays Orlando’s lack of sense of security in the estate, thus Orlando’s has no sense of belonging in the house. In contrast, the Forest of Arden represents the true belonging of everybody in the play. The setting of the forest is juxtaposed with the setting of act 2. The forest is symbolic of order and harmony. Duke senior tells us in the first lines of scene two “hath not old custom made this life more sweet than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods more free from peril than the envious court? in these lines Shakespeare juxtaposes the woods with the image of “painted pomp” of the court. The alliteration of the plosive “P” in “painted pomp” unites it with the word “peril” in the next line, characterising the court as a place of danger and falseness. The Forest of Arden, for all characters, gives them a sense of unity and love amongst each other. Thus, the forest displays a wider presence of the notion of belonging that the envious court. AYLI also explores the sense of belonging of the characters throughout the play.

The play explores Rosalind’s and Orlando’s sense of belonging changing as they meet eacthother and find themselves in the Forest of Arden. Rosalind, at the beginning of the play, has had her sense of belonging disturbed at home. This is because of her father’s banishment from the castle. At the beginning she is depressed. The first words the audience hear from her are said when she is asked by Celia to be merry, “unless you could teach me to forget a banished father, you must not teach me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure”.

Here her use of the question form and the imperative mood convey her perfectly reasonable low spirits. Rosalind and celia,however, clearly feel a sense of friendship and belonging together. However, in the forest of arden, she begins to feel that she belongs with orlando. She becomes happy and appreciates life because of the pleasure and unity of the forest of arden. Hence, Rosalind regains a brighter notion of belonging in the forest of arden rather than the court and castle. Another character in the play that has his sense of belonging being challenged is orlando.

Orlando had his sense of belonging to his home disturbed at the beginning of the play. Orlando and his beloved reputation was taken away from him after his fathers death. This is because his brother Oliver was given the duty to take care of his brothers. However, orlando did not gain his respect as a result of his carer and older brother treating him as low as a peasant. Therefore, orlando feels a low strength sense of belonging whilst living at the envious court. In contrast, he then regains his self respect after fleeing to the grand forest of arden.

He regains his trust and reputation as he joins the dukes band of followers. Consequently, orlando is treated equally and he regains his strong sense of belonging back because of the forest of arden. The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a picture book that tells the story of a man, who leaves his family, and migrates to a new county. The main character, finds it difficult to integrate into this new place and new society. He finds it difficult to belong, due to his cultural identity acting as a barrier.

This book is illustrated by a migrant as well, with Shaun Tan migrating from Malaysia to Australia at a young age. The individual in this text is a symbol for all migrants as the experience of migration is a universal experience. The Arrival illustrates the notion that people who have shared experiences tend to gravitate towards each other. This is evident in the image of the migrants huddled together on the ship. The use of shades of grey shows the sadness they all share, which is further reinforced in their positioning close together.

All the migrants are hunched over with melancholic facial expressions symbolizing that they are all experiencing a time of hardship due to the war. Furthermore, The Arrival conveys the idea that first world countries are welcoming and offer hope and a strong sense of belonging. This strong sense of belonging is conveyed on a double spread picture showing a large crowd of migrants waiting for their new start. The two large statues in the background are shaking hands symbolising a warm welcoming and a promising future for the migrants.

Also, the double spread changes from a dark tone in the foreground to a light tone in the background symbolising the offer of belonging to a new place. Thus, first world countries are welcoming of new migrants in some cases, and hence shows that the way one explores the significance of belonging may broaden one’s understanding of oneself and the world. The film Freedom Writers tells a tale of a high school class that broke a cycle of violence and failure in their inner city school. This film is based around the race riots during the early 1990s in Los Angeles.

In this film, the school is divided by race and clearly shows the influence of culture on a person’s sense of belonging. This indicates how their cultural identity acts as a barrier between them and other cultures, resulting in a sense of displacement and dislocation. This film shows the struggles and hardships faced by people of ethic culture to integrate into the society of a dominant culture. Freedom Writers shows that culture acts as a barrier for acceptance. In this film, the school is spilt by race and clearly shows the influence of culture on a person’s sense of belonging.

This can be seen through the quote, “in this school, everyone is spilt by race, little Cambodia, Little Africa, white and Latino. ” This quote shows that culture categories people and affects their sense of belonging. It also shows, despite living in the same place, they still separate themselves by their background, their heritage and colour. This can clearly be seen in the classroom, whereby the room is divided into four sections, according to ‘gang’ affiliations. Each ‘gang’ refuses to associate with each other, resulting in a sense of displacement among students in the school.

Also, Freedom Writers illustrates that the identity of an individual is heavily influenced by his or her culture. The students in his film are clearly identified as belonging to an ethic group, based on colour, race and ethnicity, e. g. , the Cambodians, the Latinos, the African Americans and the ‘whites’. This can clearly be seen early in the movie, when the video collage of the students getting ready for school is shown. This scene clearly shows the divide that exists between these “gangs” and hence shows that the identity of an individual is heavily influenced by culture.


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