IDENTITY AND BELONGING
‘Knowing where you belong is essential to our sense of identity’
The quest for personal discovery is a journey which every individual must undergo. The development of a sense of self is one of the greatest achievements one can derive from life. Identity is made up of a constellation of characteristics, none more essential than the sense of belonging we feel with others. Humans by nature are social creatures and as such, we all have an instinctual desire for acceptance and community. This is part of the human condition. However, belonging is also dependent on our own sense of identity. Where we belong will often be determined by who we are which is why what we truly search for is a delicate equilibrium between identity and belonging. Without establishing where we belong and who we are, we cannot accomplish an ultimate sense of happiness and fulfilment. ‘Self is not something one finds, it is something one creates’. This notion supports the idea that we all have the ability to shape our own identity. Shaping who we are will lead to the eventual sense of belonging we desire. Throughout an individual’s life they may decide to alter how society perceives them. This is known as their ‘public face’. Often we mould ourselves to fit in with social norms and behaviour in an attempt to be accepted into a particular group, in which we believe our belonging lies; however, sometimes our search for belonging is not over. In the novel Member of the Wedding by Carson Mcullers, the main character, Frankie, is confused about where she fits into the world. She is consumed by her deep desire to belong. This drives her to believe that her place in life is with her brother. This of course is not the case as her brother is getting married and has no room for Frankie in his marriage. The novel encapsulates the idea that we strive to belong unless we develop an image and behaviour that can be accepted. This means that we cannot know where we belong until we...
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