Belonging Essay

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Paper I Section III

Ultimately, it is one’s relationship to another or their identification with a wider social grouping that affects their sense of belonging. For others, especially those who seek solitude, a connection with physical place can generate feelings of security. To be ostracised occurs when barriers such as mental illness become evident and while some are forced into isolation, others choose to remain alone in seclusion. This understanding of belonging has been influenced by a response to the memoir Romulus, My Father by Raimond Gaita, the short story Two Friends by Guy de Maupassant and translated by Roger Colet and the bildungsroman The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Through one of the fundamental relationships in life, the development of friendship, allegiances are formed, nurtured and forever bonding. In the course of this account of fragility, despair, loss and resilience, Romulus, My Father works to articulate an ethical understanding of belonging, belonging constituted in relation to the other. This is seen most intensely in the relationship Gaita describes between his father and Hora. To form such friendships in which a sense of belonging is fostered, shared values, attitudes and beliefs are integral to such close companionship and understanding. “Character…was the central moral concept for my father and Hora…The notion of character suggested something steady and deep in a person.” Hora and Romulus based their relationship on their shared and valued common traits such as this notion of having character. Choice of the words “steady” and “deep” indicate that having character is an essential and profound element of humankind and those without are excluded as Christine was.

Two Friends is about the cherished friendship of two Frenchmen whose loyalties are tested till their death. The introduction of the story serves to establish the significance of their friendship; this is seen in the phrase “firm friends”. Alliteration in this...
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