Belonging Essay

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Section III
‘An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging’ Discuss this view with detailed reference to your prescribed text and ONE other related text of your own choosing.

An individual’s perception of Belonging is shaped by their interactions with others and the world around them. Such interaction can provide characters with a misinterpretation of what the prerequisites are for belonging, hence forcing them to reevaluate their own identity and their ability to experience a sense of belonging. This notion can be seen in both, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and Looking For Alibrandi directed by Kate Wood. In the namesake, the character Gogol’s abnormal name forces him to question his place in the world, misperceiving how others perceive him, he attempts to redefine his identity through changing his name to enrich his sense of belonging. Likewise, Moushumi feels her controlling cultural identity prohibits her from belonging how she wants to in society; she finds a thrill in not belonging to the familiar and hence seeks out the unfamiliar to achieve a sense of belonging. In Looking For Alibrandi, the protagonist, Josie, feels that her lack of connection to one cultural background gives her a sense of cultural displacement and hence she seeks to create one cultural identity to achieve a sense of belonging amongst her peers.

Gogol misperceives how others perceive him, generated from his lack of understanding of his place in the world due to his unusual name. During a class trip to a cemetery in his earlier years, Gogol cannot find his name on any of the headstones and is confronted with the fact that his name is unique. Contrasted to the generic American names of his friends, “Colin and Jason and Marc”, Gogol perceives his name only highlights his cultural differences to his peers and provides a barrier to belonging. The simile used, “at times his name, an entity shapeless and...
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