The Simple Gift Analysis

1158 Words5 Pages
Interaction with people and places, for all individuals, are significant in enriching or limiting their sense of belonging. Many individuals find the strongest sense of belonging through relationships, due to the fact that by nature these connections fulfill the inherent human need for social interaction and enrich the lives of the persons involved. Conversely, relationships that do not fit the conventional model of this kind of connection may instead attain the same sense of belonging through their connections to place and culture, or within themselves. Steven Herrick’s verse novel The Simple Gift and Peter Cowan’s Short Story School are two powerful texts in which an exploration of belonging and its different meanings for individuals ultimately…show more content…
Individuals can find a true sense of belonging outside the confines of a relationship in connections to ideas such as culture, place or even within themselves. Herrick expands on this idea in The Simple Gift. At the start of the novel, Billy’s school, family and hometown “Nowheresville” do not inspire a sense of belonging for him. “I throw one rock on the roof/ of each deadbeat no-hoper/ shithole lonely downtrodden house” The accumulation of negative diction highlights the feelings of alienation that such place arouses for Billy. The use of the dialogue “see ya Dad, I’ve taken the alcohol. Drink this instead to celebrate your sons leaving home” demonstrates the harsh broken relationship between Billy and his father resulting in a non-existent sense of belonging. Billy ends up in a town called Bendarat where “the sun finally lifts the fog” symbolising the way in which Billy is leaving his dark past behind, and that he feels this place could provide the potential for hope and positive experiences; a place to truly belong. He conveys the attractiveness of his new home: “painted red and yellow.” This affirms the rightness of his choice and a sense of belonging. His makeshift home, a train carriage, becomes his home and provides him with sense of…show more content…
The young man of the Short Story School by Peter Cowan feels a profound and overwhelming sense of not belonging in the classroom context. Contrasting techniques and contradictions allows the reader to sympathise with the repressed anguish of the main character and show how even though you may belong in one environment you may not in another, reinforcing the physical idea that spaces can be traps and cause us not to belong at times. Within this text, Cowan describes various mundane classroom activities such as blurred symbols upon a page and a sense of loneliness in order to reveal the negative connotations of the education system. In the middle section of the short story, the tone changes dramatically and the boy describes his experiences of working on the land with others, who, “when he speaks, they listen”. This is a strong contrast to school where it is “nothing, related to nothing in his experience” and “the others do not notice” his plight. Billy too experiences school as an alienating space and upon his departure from Nowheresville, graffiti’s “may you all well and truly get stuffed”. This is contrasted to Billy’s experience of Wentworth Creek where he learns about the world through reading and he “can dream”. The boy in the short story is less articulate about his sense of place as belonging, but through simple figurative descriptions and tone, we know how much he

More about The Simple Gift Analysis

Open Document