Belonging Essay

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There are various avenues by which an individual is able to experience a sense of belonging. This sense is derived from an acceptance of identity as well as the various experiences which result in an understanding of society. William Shakespeare effectively demonstrates, through As You Like It, that an individual’s acknowledgement of their own identity is vital to their sense of belonging. John Steinbeck too conveys this message in Of Mice And Men, whereas Pulp portrays the consequences that a lack of understanding may lead to, through their song, Common People.

Throughout Shakespeare’s As You Like It, he has strongly highlighted the importance for an individual to accept their identity, to have a sense of who they really are; and as a result of this, there will be a sense of belonging to their own self and this will ultimately lead to a belonging to the rest of society. Such an example is provided through the character of Orlando, who can be seen from the very start of the play to have a strong sense of connection to himself. He states that “The spirit of my father grows strong in me – and I will no longer endure it.”, conveying a sense of relationship to his father; even after his death. Shakespeare utilises a metaphor in “spirit of my father” to effectively demonstrate this strong sense of connection that Orlando possesses. Through comparison of Orlando’s memory of his father to a “spirit”, Shakespeare has emphasised the strong belief in which Orlando has of his own identity. As a result of acknowledging that his father’s spirit lies within him, Orlando has shown that he has accepted his natural identity; and thus, is able to truly belong to himself.

Shakespeare further accentuates this notion of identity through the character of Duke Frederick, who, after Orlando wins a fight with Charles; says “thou art a gallant youth: I would hadst thou told me of another father”; this emphasises the importance of identity as an excuse is made based...