Belonging Essay

2226 WordsNov 25, 20129 Pages
People experience a sense of belonging in varied and complex ways. How is this explored in the texts you have studied? The notion of belonging transcends time and place, as each person inherently seeks a sense of community. Whilst each individual may undergo the same process of searching for relational links, the actual experience of a sense of belonging is varied and complex. Those who already belong are the gatekeepers of acceptance, and pursuing this desire may come at the cost of transformation. Values, attitudes and perspectives add to the type and complexity of belonging, as these may aid one’s integration, or act as a barrier to it. Essentially though, the process of belonging is common to all, though the resulting experience may vary. This is as those that belong must choose whether to include or isolate, as seen in the poem, ‘Unguarded Gates’ by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Romulus Gaita and Frida Kahlo’s works show the different reactions to these extremes. This is a longing that is felt by all, yet is expressed individually. Indeed this does transcend time, from Aldrich’s prominent poem in the late 19th century, Frida Kahlo’s ‘Self Portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird’ in 1940 and most recently, Gaita’s 1998 memoir. To belong is not simply to feel connected to a certain place or group of people, rather, one must be given acceptance in order to belong on a more than superficial level. It is through exploring this continually relevant concept that these composers can connect with responders, as they express common issues through the prism of their own experience. In these works, each outlines aspects of self that may act as barriers. Hence, whilst the process of becoming accepted may be common, the actual experience of belonging will alter. Self discovery and a loss of self are not mutually exclusive. The cost of acceptance varies, from slight

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