Unique individuals can find belonging through dissatisfaction or a feeling of alienation when conforming to society’s expectations, leaving an individual in a state of paradox. This leaves the intrinsic individual to place value on their self, rather than attempting to reform to expectations. This is shown in the painting, ‘Outsider’ by Gordon Bennett and through Emily Dickinson’s poems ‘I had been hungry’ and ‘This is my letter to the world’.
Questioning self-identity can allow unique individuals to find a sense of belonging. Emily Dickinson’s Poem ‘I had been hungry’ suggests the desire not only to find ones identity but also to connect with others. Dickinson “had been hungry all the years” and when the food was suddenly there it wasn’t so appealing. The persona had been searching for her identity for all these years and when she finally finds it, she finds she has become someone, not herself. The use of the food being a metaphor for searching for one’s identity, simplifies the idea. The religious imagery in the first stanza in the form of ‘wine’ is introduced as an alternative metaphor for social interaction, and after yielding to the ‘wine’, she becomes more and more attracted towards belonging to society. In the second stanza the persona goes on to say, “I could not hope for mine”, this is ambiguous as the persona both does not feel it is possible for her to join this society because it is beyond her and paradoxically not what she could ever want, allowing her to return to her ‘natural’ self-identity. Furthermore, the image of the persona as an observer looking through the ‘window’, ‘could not hope’ for a part of this exclusive Victorian Society. This allows someone such as unique as Emily Dickinson to find belonging through questioning one’s self-identity.
In the artwork ‘Outsider’ by Gordon Bennett, an Indigenous man finds himself stuck between traditional indigenous ways of life and the typical, European way of doing things and is forced to...
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