As you like it/Of Mice and Men/The Rabbits
A personal affiliation with others and a sense of connection to an environment influence an individual’s experience of belonging.
William Shakespeare exposes the consequences of such associations through a pastoral comedy, ironically manipulating the plotline and characters in his 1599 play “As You Like It”. John Steinbeck’s 1937 novelette “Of Mice and Men” illuminates concurrent components of belonging, showing how a feeling of connection may give rise to contentment, through the contrasting ideals and the relationships the characters hold. John Marsden and Shaun Tan’s 1998 picture book “The Rabbits” can also be interpreted in similar light, with the composers using an allegoric storyline to convey meaning to their audience
Belonging derived from personal interactions is often a driving force in the life of an individual, and provides an inimitable form of security and happiness. The opening lines of “As you like it” see Orlando in a space of alienation as the filial turbulence prevalent in his relationship with Oliver is exposed. Shakespeare employs animal imagery to provide evidence of Orlando’s discomfort, equating his treatment to that of an “ox”, and the “breading of a horse”. Orlando’s frustration forces him to “lay his hands” on Oliver, stage direction used to enhance the impact of Orlando’s misery. The dialogue changes from verse to prose, when Rosalind is conversing with Celia, the colloquialism symbolizing the sense of comfort felt by Rosalind in the company of Celia. Contrastingly, in each of the brothers’ cases, the existing blood relationship seems to have no particular significance. Through the use of relationships, Shakespeare develops a continuum of parallel plots, which as a romantic comedy convention bind the play, and enhance comedic tension and confusion by adding complication enabling him to amuse both Elizabethan and contemporary audiences. (180)
The security provided by fellowship may...
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