Belonging In Comrades

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Belonging is one of those universalities that appears simple and yet holds complex truths about humanity. It is the state in which an individual holds a place of purpose and is valued for one’s own intrinsic identity within a group or relationship. In order for belonging to occur, there must be an affinity between individuals in terms of shared aspects of identity. However, as each individual has a set of values that shapes their identity, there must be some negotiation in order to find commonalities. There are many ways through which an individual can belong to a group or relationship, however some individuals find it difficult to establish similarities in identity with others, so must suppress their individuality in order to belong or else …show more content…
These concepts of belonging are explored through Shakespeare’s use of characterisation, plot and setting. Two other texts that explore the concept of belonging are Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion and the short story “Comrades” by Nadine Gordimer. As You Like It follows several characters disconnected from society on their individual journeys to regain a place of belonging. The sense of discord in the play is evidently a result of the corruption in the court, the setting where the main characters ideally belong. Corruption in the court is identified through the family breakdowns that have occurred. The play opens with a sense of disorder, an unnatural situation where Orlando rails against his brother’s maltreatment of him. Oliver fails to fulfil the role “charged” him by his late father to provide Orlando with adequate education befitting a “gentleman of [his] birth”. By denying Orlando the means to his rightful place in society, Oliver removes a vital part of his identity, consequently denying him a part in the family; the “place of a …show more content…
However, the rejection is not one-sided as Anne continually opts disassociates herself from her family refusing to ingratiate herself with her cousins of nobility, the Dalrymple’s. Austen goes so far as to make Anne “ashamed” of the Dalrymple’s bearing “no superiority of manner, accomplishment, or understanding” and merely being “charming”. Anne’s refined judgment of character identifies her as clearly not belonging to her family. Beyond the contrasting characters, Austen also addresses a larger conflict between two whole attitudes and ways of life. Torn between her sense of acceptance within the naval circle at Uppercross and her duty to her family at Bath, Anne vocalises the disparities between the two social “sets”. While Anne is at home and with the Musgrove’s, Sir Walter and Elizabeth are at their most characteristic in the sterile vanity of Bath, “exulting: that their “acquaintance was exceedingly sought after”. Austen’s use of the contrasting locations of Bath and Uppercross highlights the ability of different settings to confirm individual values. The use of setting to explore the ability of a location to either affirm or transform ones identity is evident in the setting of the Forest of Arden in As You

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