Simple Gift

Topics: Protagonist, Freedom Writers, English-language films Pages: 3 (856 words) Published: March 5, 2014
Belonging is a controlling force influenced by our personal situation and is characterized by the understanding of our relationships and interactions with others. An individual’s perception of belonging is greatly influenced by interactions with the environment and their surroundings. This is clearly seen in The Simple Gift by Stephen Herrick which demonstrates elements of belonging and acceptance through the 'pain and suffering' of rejection, 'homelessness' and 'dealing with death' by the characters Billy, Caitlin and Old Bill. Similarly in the movie “Freedom Writers”, it explores the ideas of taking control of one’s identity and accepting life’s simple pleasures. Firstly, in the novel ‘The Simple Gift’, Steven Herrick explores the idea taking control of one’s identity through numerous language techniques. Herrick uses free-verse poems to capture the thoughts, insecurities, emotions and ambitions of the three main characters (Billy, Caitlin and Old Bill), as well as telling their stories, showing various angles and their opinions. This allows the audience to understand the difference between each character and how each character’s sense of belonging is affected by notions of identity, and their surroundings. The main character Billy lives in a town called Nowheresville where he has a strong sense of not belonging and disconnection, particularly with his father. Billy eventually runs away from his violent, alcoholic father. “see ya dad. I’ve taken the alcohol… the old bastard will have a fit.” However, after fleeing “home” he discovers his real, genuine home is within an old train carriage upon his meeting with a friendly man named Ernie. Contrast between Billy’s father and Ernie indicates Billy’s unstable relationship with his father and his comforting relationship with Ernie. In ‘Bendarat’, just before Billy leaves the freight train, he demands Ernie with the phrase “dump me in another state”. The use of symbolism represents Billy’s lack of control over his...
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