An individual’s sense of belonging can be shaped by numerous elements of their interactions with other people and places. To obtain a true sense of belonging, these elements must work to support and accept the individual in their discovery of a fulfilled and contented existence. These essential concepts of belonging are displayed within William Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A.B. Patterson’s poem Clancy of the Overflow. Through the composers’ use of dramatic, language, poetic and literary techniques, we are able to explore the various aspects and ideas which lead to a deep sense of belonging.
One of the fundamental concepts of belonging is that to another person through the bond of love or friendship. It is a relationship that emerges from the seed of acceptance, understanding and respect, and leads to the most fulfilling opportunity for belonging. In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, love is the key aspect of belonging, mainly through the characters of Rosalind and Orlando. Through Shakespeare’s use of dialogue and imagery, we are able to witness the level of harmony and acceptance between the lovers. Rosalind’s dialogue to Celia “my affection has an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal” shows her extensive infatuation with Orlando and how she believes she truly belongs with him. Orlando also shows infatuating signs of passion towards Rosalind. We see in Act 3, Scene 2 where he hangs his love poems to Rosalind on trees and praises her immensely. The imagery within these scenes demonstrate to what extent a man is willing to go to for the love of another person to obtain the subsequent level of emotional connection and belonging. Orlando’s dialogue “the fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she” conveys his love and sense of compassion towards Rosalind; and how he wishes to belong by her side.
In contrast to Orlando’s and Rosalind’s relationship is that of