Identity & Belonging

Topics: Identity, Natural environment, Environment Pages: 3 (1255 words) Published: September 8, 2013
‘Our sense of self is very vulnerable to external pressures’ In everyday life, humans are surrounded with pressures that can influence the formation of their identity. External pressures such as the environment we live in, the culture we belong to and the presence of other people, are often uncontrollable and can have a crucial impact on our sense of self. This idea is explored in great depth in Ray Lawler’s classic Australian play, “The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll”, where it is reflected how these basic external pressures help to define different characters. It is also demonstrated, however, that embedded within individuals are internal demands, to which our sense of self can be equally vulnerable to. Our identity can be derived in great part from our environments. Whether it be our home, school, work or sporting club, each of these external aspects can have a larger impact on our sense of self than we realise. Demonstrated by Lawler, Emma’s Carlton boarding house in the play provides his central characters with an environment to which helps form part of their identities. The ‘lay-off’ has become an annual routine and thus is the reason why Olive fails to leave the past behind her and ‘come out of [her] day-dream long enough to take a grown-up look at the lay-off.’ The tropics of North Queensland are home to Roo and Barney for seven months of the year, where they spend their days ‘sloggin it out under the sun’ working as cane-cutters. This idea of people being shaped by their environment is also evident in ‘The Cane-cutters’, a short YouTube film, made by The National Film Board (1948), where the men are made to be tough due to the exhausting and physical work they do; ‘stoop, chop, straighten, top’. The men’s’ identities are influenced greatly by their physical environment and occupation, as they would not be able to survive in that type of setting without doing so. Ones’ sense of self can be influenced by the culture to which they belong to. A nation’s...
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