Belonging- Connections to Place

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Belonging Essay 2011 HSC Question

Question 3 (15 marks) Explore how perceptions of belonging and not belonging can be influenced by connections to places. In your response, refer to your prescribed text and at least ONE other related text of your own choosing. The prescribed texts are listed on the next page. Word Length: 1200 words A sense of belonging is an essential part of the human condition; it is a desire shared by all. Belonging refers to the ability of an individual to fit in a specified place or environment. This may include fitting in with a group of people, fitting in with society or fitting in with a physical place. All individuals have their own unique perception of belonging and not belonging, based on a number of factors. One of these factors includes connections to places, such as physical places or an individualʼs place in society, as these connections may influence whether the individual has a positive or negative perception of belonging. Emily Dickinson explores how this factor impacts on an individualʼs perception of belonging and not belonging through her use of poetic techniques in her poems #154- A Word Dropped Careless on a Page and #82- I Had Been Hungry All the Years. Similarly, the short film The Story of Bubble Boy, directed by Sean Ascroft, uses film techniques to also ponder the influences of connections to place upon an individualʼs perceptions of belonging by examining the life of Bubble Boy as he attempts to find his place in society in order to belong. In A Word Dropped Careless on a Page, Emily Dickinson discusses her own place in society as a poet and writer, and explores the significance of her position. Thus, the persona examines how writing well, and therefore connecting with her place in society, provides her with a positive perception of belonging, whereas being a careless with her place in society by not valuing it can contribute to a negative perception. This negative or pessimistic view in writing could bring about harm to others according to Dickinson in the poem. Dickinson effectively utilises the metaphor of an infection or disease to represent poor pieces of writing. This metaphor is evident in the line “Infection in the sentence breeds.”. Negative connotation is associated with this metaphor, as an infection brings harm, pain and discomfort to those that experience it. This is metaphorically compared to the ongoing effect of substandard literatureʼs effect on society, as it depicts how failure to produce admirable work means that she has failed in connecting with her place in society as a writer due to passing on imperfect writing traits to future generations. As a result of this disconnection with her place in society due to her failure, it is clear that the persona develops a negative perception of belonging, as she is unable to feel a sense of connectedness with society, as it seems to her that she has failed them. This negative perception is made apparent through the negative connotation of “Infection”. Through linking the personaʼs fear of disconnecting with her place in society as a writer to a pessimistic perception of belonging, Dickinson cleverly examines the adverse effect that disconnecting with place can have on an individualʼs perception of belonging.   Symbolism is also used through the word choice of “Infection”, as this noun symbolises the human condition. The use of this diction evidently conveys how the persona may feel

Peter Farlow Ms Nguyen Advanced English 1

connected to her place as a human being, as she feels united to all others of the human race due to being a part of the human condition through mortality and morbidity, i.e. suffering from ailments and infections. In this way, Dickinson reveals the tension between both an individual connecting and disconnecting with their place in society. It displays how, even though the persona struggles to connect with her place based on her unsatisfactory work, she is able to connect somewhat with her place in the...
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