The Lost Thing Belonging by Shaun Tan

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“More than anything else, belonging is about finding a sense of place in the world.” Do you agree? Argue your point of view, referring to Shaun Tan’s “The Lost Thing”.

Achieving a sense of place in the world, mentally and physically, allows an individual to feel an awareness of belonging - a feeling unobtainable through little else. Places where imagination and distinctiveness are condemned force those who adapt to live a dull reality that holds no challenges or freedom of thought. Minority groups are set apart from the majority, with the mainstream becoming blind to those who are excluded simply because they don’t fit society’s standards. Shaun Tan’s “The Lost Thing” explores a world that directly reflects society and its inability to accept indifferences. Through Tan’s use of film techniques such as tones, costuming, and camera shots, the audience is able to have an increased understanding of belonging and the necessity of finding a sense of place in the world. Until an individual is able to find a place where they feel security and a sense of identity, they are unable to belong in the world.

Conforming to a society that eradicates individuality and creativity results in a mundane existence without challenges and freethinking. The fundamental need to belong can consequently see many altering themselves in order to fit society and its perceptions. A monotone narrative voiceover introduces the premise of the film, as the young protagonist reveals his wavering ability to remember stories that use to humour and amaze. Amused by the irony of his reflection, “I used to know a whole lot of pretty interesting stories, some of them so funny you would laugh yourself unconscious…but I can’t remember any of those…”, the audience’s rapport with this character is immediately established. Sepia tones are juxtaposed with the bright colouration of the lost thing portraying a dichotomy between the industrialised world and the misplaced ‘Thing’. Curiosity and a sense of...
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