The Simple Gift Belonging Essay

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“Our understanding of belonging is enhanced by times of isolation.” It is true that the deprivation of belonging further enhances our need of it and ultimately our understanding of the concept. Once a sense of belonging is reached the moral refinement of ones perception of self leads to a point of conclusive identity. Steven Herrick’s free verse novel The Simple Gift highlights the journey of Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin as they go through the process of alienation to achieve a strong sense of inner and social belonging. The film The Freedom Writers directed by Richard LaGravenese examines a similar idea of identity which revolves around a situation where overwhelming social pressure forces different races apart and constructs a barrier preventing tribes to belong to and function as a greater society. The Shawshank Redemption directed by Frank Darabont explores the human capacity of adapting and changing oneself depending on the needs and influences of one’s environment through protagonist Andy Dufresne who struggles to rediscover himself after being wrongly sentenced to prison. In The Simple Gift Herrick explores how a nurturing environment allows individuals to delve more deeply into themselves and discover who they are. The alienation experienced by Billy in “Nowheresville” due to the abusive relationship with his father is epitomised through the personification of the rocks “protesting at being left in this damn place” and the pathetic fallacy of the “wind[that howls] howls and rain[that] sheets in” on the “afternoon of [his] goodbyes”. But due to his desire to belong Billy leaves the “rundown and beat” ”dump”. Upon Billy’s arrival in Bendarat Herrick symbolically foregrounds Billy’s consequential belonging through the imagery of “the sun finally lifting the fog”. Through Billy’s rhetorical question of “who’s side am I on” we see his first thought toward

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