Belonging: Dickinson & Brick Lane

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The concept of belonging is derived from the sense of identity; to be able to merge and feel part of a community an one must find their identity. For an individual to belong within their environment their identity can be put to jeopardy, they have to either conform to ideal views and become part of society or choose to be isolated. Although in contrast to choosing whether or not to belong, individuals are often forced to be secluded. This is where they are taken out of the environments and put into situations where their identity and sense of self are threatened. Belonging can be drawn back to finding one’s identity whilst in isolation. In addition to Individuals who struggle within their environment can experience complete isolation and strong barriers restricting them to belong. Concepts of belonging are seen throughout the film Brick Lane and Emily Dickinson’s poems “I died for beauty but was scarce” and “This is my letter to the world”. These texts identify and demonstrate how the ideas of belonging and isolation work in hand with one’s identity.

When individuals or groups are marginalised their sense of belonging is compromised. When one is isolated or experiences lack of acceptance we observe the changes in their identity and how they react to their environment. In Dickinson’s poem “This is my letter to the world” the change in identity is seen through the isolation she experiences this is seen in the line ‘The simple news that nature told’ shows the relationship with nature to compensate the absence of acceptance by society the words simple and nature could suggest fragility of her identity she has with the world. Due to her isolation the personification of the relationship with nature, emphasises the marginalisation she is experiencing with the rest of the world and her inability to feel comfortable where she is.

In contrast to “this is my letter to the world” in the film Brick lane the character’s sense of belonging is not compromised but merely...
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