English Advanced HSC
“UNDERSTANDING NOURISHES BELONGING... A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING PREVENTS IT.”
Demonstrate how your prescribed text and ONE other related text of your own choosing represent this interpretation of belonging.
It is often in the nature of mankind to be hardwired to develop a sense of connection with one another, and this desire to connect can be described as the need to belong. Belonging refers to the state when one reaches a likeness or similarity – physical, emotional or otherwise, to another unit, for instance a community, place or ideal. However this likeness that is wished to be reached can only be thoroughly done so and encouraged if said person is completely aware of his or her surroundings and can understand the nature of it all. If a lack of understanding is present, it creates a barrier to belonging, resulting in difficulties to arise. This can be broken down into three key areas where belonging is imminent – place, relationships and society and culture. Two texts that clearly display this is Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, The Namesake and the autobiography Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin.
When personally connected to a place, an establishment of belonging begins to form. For instance, birth places are a foundation to one’s childhood, thus a certain longing to stay linked. Migrants frequently experience this longing, as they may feel that their homeland is where they truly fit in but are faced with the impossibility of returning. They often feel a conflicting sense of belonging, or a sense of not belonging anywhere because of the battle between birthplace and their new home. The Namesake displays these exact feelings with one of the characters, Ashima, especially when she initially moved to America from India with her newly wedded husband. “It is not at all what she had expected. Not at all like the houses in Gone with the Wind of Seven Year Itch… the apartment is drafty in the winter, and in summer, intolerably hot…” The intertextual...