The notion of belonging to people, place and society is a universal need which shapes and develops a stronger sense of self identity. Although perceptions of belonging are unique to the individual, personal contentment is most powerfully drawn from the greater community and surrounding environment.
To support these three arguments, I will relate to the compelling picture book The Island written by Armin Greder in 2008, and Melina Marchetta’s engaging film Looking for Alibrandi, produced in the year 2000. I will also give reference to The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick.
Belonging is a gift we all require. It colours who we are and how we fit into the world around us. The hunger for the need to belong to groups or places is what drives us and is common to all humanity. A famous quote from the Bible states ‘How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity’. Throughout our life, the ever-changing personal, social and cultural contexts can transform ones sense of belonging and self identity. Levels of connectedness with friends and family will change over time and can be positive or negative.
Armin Greders vivid picture book The Island depicts negative connotations of not belonging to people. The text expresses this through the protagonist’s alienation and the concept of social repression against those who are different. The graphic book illustrates a mysterious man washed up on an unfamiliar island. The inhabitants of the island instinctively show discontent towards the intruder because he is quite different to their typical appearance.
Non-acceptance of the protagonist is immediately portrayed in the line ‘I am sure he wouldn’t like it here, so far away from his own kind’. This quote is used by the inhabitants to excuse themselves from responsibility of the lone man as he is not ‘one of them’.
Disconnection to people in The Island works in parallel with Billy’s relationship to his father in The Simple Gift. This is