Perceptions of Belonging

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‘Understanding nourishes belonging. A lack of understanding prevents it.’ Demonstrate how your prescribed text, and TWO other related text of your own choosing represent this interpretation of belonging.

“Belonging” is a multifaceted concept that highlights our inherent need to feel a connection with others. Due to its essential complexity, the varying perceptions of belonging exist not merely between, but also within individuals, and are evolutionary in nature, shaped by the extent of social acceptance and understanding. It is this paradoxical nature of belonging that is the thematic focus of Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible”, which provides a means of portraying the negative repercussions of society’s lack of understanding and conflicting pressures to conform. This idea is furthered in George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” (1984) and W.H Auden’s poem “Refugee Blues.” These texts encapsulate the ambivalent notions of belonging and evaluate the significance of social values and attitudes upon one’s sense of social inclusion and exclusion.

Society’s need for individuals to conform to the wider society has led to a lack in understanding of differences, consequently preventing an individual’s sense of belonging. “The Crucible”, set in Salem 1692, in a society which is strictly theocratic and where individuality is to be hidden from the public. The religious dogma that “A person is either with this court of he must be counted against it, there be no road between” is deeply rooted throughout the play and metaphorically underpins the social cohesion and necessity of an individual to conform to the rigid enforcement of religious customs. Rebecca Nurse’s views in regards to the girls having a “silly season” oppose what the authorities in Salem society believe. This difference in view results in the witch-cry against Rebecca, which thus results in her loss of belonging within the community. This therefore clearly depicts the lack of understanding within...
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