Belonging: An Individual's Interaction with Others and the World Around

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Social interaction is an essential part of any relationship; it is the determining factor for one’s perceptions of the society around them and their own identity. Relationships are initially built upon mutual interests and acceptance and this is closely linked with one’s innate desire to be able to affiliate with a group or another individual. Both these ideas are explored in the ‘Namesake’ by Jhumpa Lahiri and the picture book: ‘The Lost Thing’ by Shaun Tan. Lahiri explores the importance of shared values and experiences in a relationship for it to prosper rather than the need for social interaction. This notion is shown through the relationship Ashoke and Ashima forge throughout their life. Despite having an arranged marriage, without having known each other beforehand, Ashoke and Ashima form a powerful emotional bond during their married life. Throughout the book, the interaction between Ashima and Ashoke is somewhat limited in speech but their bond is shown through emotive passages instead. An example of this is when Ashima tries on Ashoke’s shoes; this action is a symbolic harbinger of how well they both ‘fit’ together over the years. Furthermore, the quote: “Eight thousand miles away in Cambridge she has come to know him” illustrates how the challenges of being migrants together and the mutual experiences in America and in India serve to strengthen their conjugal ties. Their relationship, hence, is an intuitive one instead of one where verbal communication is needed. The ostracism experienced by one unable to interact with others is shown in ‘The Lost Thing’ by Shaun Tan. The lost thing is an anomalous creature in a bureaucratic society searching for a place to fit in. However wherever it goes, it is met with an apathetic attitude from the citizens. The citizens of this society are so innately obsessed with practical outcomes that they have lost all sense of creativity and even conversation for the sake of conversation. Tan illustrates the austerity of this...
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