2012 English HSC Essay by Marcus Kraefft
An individual’s perceptions of belonging can change in response to the passage of time and their interactions with the world. Constructive interactions can increase one’s sense of belonging. In the same way destructive interactions or alienation can decrease one’s sense of belonging. The passing of time also affects an individual’s sense of belonging in that it can lead to an appreciation of place and culture. One’s sense of belonging also depends on whether they choose to belong and are chosen to belong, but choice is not always enough. Although both parties may want to belong to each other, barriers can still exist, preventing a sense of belonging. This is evident in Raimond Gaita’s ‘Romulus, My Father’ (1998) and ‘American History X’ (1998) directed by Tony Kaye. The sense of belonging of the individuals in these texts evolves through the elapsing of time and interactions with their world. An individual’s interaction with their world shapes their sense of belonging; constructive interactions increase one’s sense of belonging. Upon first moving to Australia Romulus was immediately drawn to Horu and Mitru because they have similar backgrounds. Romulus had many interactions with Horu and Mitru and as a result Romulus felt an increasingly strong sense of belonging to them. Romulus spent more time and interacted more with Horu and we see that Romulus developed a stronger friendship with Horu than with Mitru. Raimond also had many interactions with Vacek and as they met more often Raimond felt more and more comfortable with Vacek, showing an increased sense of belonging. Similarly in ‘American History X’, Derek despises negroes and has no sense of belonging to them. When Derek goes to prison though, he is forced to interact with negroes through prison duties such as folding sheets together. From this Derek forms a strong friendship with a particular negro, Jim, and as a result of their interactions, his perspective of...
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