Relationships & Belonging

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Essay – ‘Natasha’s Story’ & the ‘Simple Gift’
The concept of acceptance and understanding is an inherent human condition in which we strive for acceptance and security through others. However, when we are marginalised, we can feel dislocated and displaced, and believe that we do not belong to our home, ourselves or with the people around us. The contemporary free verse novel; The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick and the documentary Natasha’s Story are two texts that reflect upon the importance of relationships and how they are essential for the nurturing of growth. When an individual’s identity is marginalised, it can cause feelings of dislocation and displacement, and result in the belief that they do not belong to society or the larger world. As the camera focuses on shadowy poorly lit face of Natasha she further explains the tumultuous nature of being marginalised because she was homeless and mentally ill. “It was not a world I chose, but there I was in homeless mental health world, where people treat you with disregard, it was very difficult to get people to understand that I had abilities”. The use of the term “homeless mental health world” represents the themes of marginalisation and acceptance on differing degrees. The fact that she was in a completely separate world to the majority of society portrays the marginalisation and the immediate response for people to disassociate from her because of her homelessness and mental health issues. Contrastingly, it also shows that Natasha was in fact included in a group of people that would be suffering similar issues regardless of whether she chose to associate with that group. In the phrase “It was not a world I chose” it further supports the fact that individuals can be ‘forced’ to belong to particular groups because of the marginalisation of their own identity and leaves them with a sense of discontinuity with society or the larger world. Billy Luckett’s identity is also ostracized by society as shown in the...
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