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Belonging- the Arrival & the Secret River

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Belonging- the Arrival & the Secret River

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Belonging occurs when individuals understand the people and the world around them. How is this evident in two of the texts you have studied? Belonging, that is, the connection an individual feels to the world he or she inhabits often comes down to the specific factors and forces that shape their experience. In the text The Secret River, author Kate Grenville illuminates a number of key issues in regard to belonging, none of these more poignant that place, location and locus often functions as a key determinant of belonging. This concept of belonging is also highlighted in Shaun Tan’s pictorial narrative, The Arrival, in which the importance of home and family and the sense of harmony and happiness that comes with understanding relationships with the people we love. The determinants of belonging vary depending on an individual and their views and experiences; ones sense of belonging may come down to who they are with without the location being a factor, where they are located and the physical environmental features and one’s culture and traditions. These varying determinants of ones belonging are represented in The Secret River and The Arrival in which each protagonist has different approaches to their ideal conclusion of belonging. Australian author Kate Grenville’s 2005 novel, The Secret River, explores the concept that place and geographical context and circumstance will often play a key role in determining one’s belonging. The opening pages of the novel introduce William Thornhill, a convict, transported to New South Wales in the year 1806. Thornhill’s journey tells of the great physical distance that now separates Thornhill from the warm familiarity of life at home in London; Thornhill’s new world is foreign, inhospitable place, disorientating in its otherness, and becomes a metonym for the great yearning Thornhill now has for his erstwhile life in England. To express this idea of one’s understanding and connectedness with their world being a determinant to...