Belonging: Indigenous Australians and Connected Family Relationship

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Belonging is the enlightenment felt when man gains an awareness of themselves, which may or may not include affiliations to others & the wider world. This insight is found in the texts of 'As You Like It' by William Shakespeare, 'The Last Samurai' directed by Edward Zwick & 'The Past' by Oodgeroo Noonuccal.

As You Like It initially accentuates familial & political usurpation, injustice, exile & the pain of being made to feel that no one longer belongs in either court or family. The physical level of 'wrestling' within the play metaphorically acts as an impulsive level of 'grappling' amongst civilisation. This diminishes any sense of connection amid urban society & in effect, the court is seen as a world of division, lack of acceptance & where powerless people such as Orlando do not seem to belong.

In the play, belonging, however, develops from the interaction of the characters nature & nurture. For Oliver & Orlando these aspects varied. Oliver is of noble 'birth', yet his degenerate nature contrasts to that of Orlando's. Despite this, Oliver accuses Orlando of being a villain, whilst carrying only hate for him, personifying his soul, “I hope I shall see an end of him, for my soul... hates nothing more than he”. Henceforth an absence of filial connection existed between the siblings. Nonetheless this insufficiency dwindles as the two venture through Arden, discovering diverse values, emotions & essentially a forced change of nurturing, with Oliver in particular. He experiences brotherly love & sacrifice, evoking an inherent benevolence, in the paradox, “Twas I, but ’tis not I: I do not shame to tell you what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.” Oliver now ‘belongs’ in a connected family relationship, & to a ‘self’ that he can now perceive as being different from before.

Shakespeare uses Jacques to show how the guise of 'not belonging', veneers a desire to find belonging on another level. “Out of these convertities there is...
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