Explore How Perceptions of Belonging and not Belonging Can Be Influenced by Connections to Places

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Explore how perceptions of belonging and not belonging can be influenced by connections to places.

Perceptions of belonging and not belonging can be influenced by connections to places and their offers of, or lack of, the physical, emotional or spiritual support. Each place offers or has an absence of support, which in turn results in either the feeling of belonging or not belonging. In the three texts; “Swallow The Air” by Tara June Winch, the poem “Last of His Tribe”, and a Tropfest short film, “Missing Her”, the perceptions of belonging and not belonging are greatly associated with the connections to places and this is emphasized through a number of techniques.

In the novel “Swallow The Air”, Tara June Winch explores belonging and not belonging through the journey of the protagonist May Gibson. After May’s connection to the land around her is shattered by the suicidal death of her mother, she is left feeling like she ‘doesn’t belong anywhere’ and so she heads off in search of a new place to form a connection. Her journey leads her across Australia as she searches for her family and a new sense of place, only for her to find that it is back in Wonoona, and at the beach, that she feels like she belongs. Throughout the novel, motifs are used to show the connection between May and the place around her. One of these shows her relationship with water, especially the beach, ‘at the water I am always home.’ Throughout the novel, May keeps referring back to the significance of the water to her sense of belonging and consistently referring to how the beach provides an emotional and spiritual connection. May’s perception of belonging and not belonging are significantly influenced by the places she has a connection to and the support that each place provides.

Another text that establishes the perception of belonging and not belonging as a cause of a connection to a place is the poem “Last Of His Tribe”. Oodgeroo Noonuccal explores this notion through the...
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