The Simple Gift

Topics: Tracy Chapman, Struggle, Fast Car Pages: 2 (588 words) Published: October 9, 2012
Belonging is when you feel comfortable with a person, place or group. Perceptions and ideas of belonging and not belonging vary. A sense of struggle to belong can emerge through a connection made by a place, person, group, communities and the larger world. Struggle is represented through Steven Herrick’s free-verse novel ‘The Simple Gift’ and related text ‘Fast Car’ a song performed by Tracy Chapman. These texts can connect how the struggle to belong and find one’s place is important in the lives of some people.

Steven Herrick’s ‘The Simple Gift’ demonstrates the elements of struggle to belong and acceptance through pain and surrounding of rejection, homelessness and dealing with death. Herrick shows this through the characters of Billy, Old Bill and Caitlyn. Without a family providing us with security we can feel lost and alone in the world “The old bastard will have a fit” his use of colloquial language indicates a lack of respect between Billy and his dad, Billy is glad his father will be annoyed. However when we connect to a special place in the world, we feel like we belong. This is shown through the repetition of “I love this place/I love the flow of cold clear water” Billy’s description of Westfield Creek shows that he felt belonging there. He was able to find a safe place even in his home town that he hated. Furthermore we can also find struggle with people’s experience distancing in places that they are not connect to, we see this through Billy “the rocks bounce and clatter and roll and protest” Herrick shows the personification reveals Billy’s anger towards this ‘damn place’ that he is leaving. Throwing the rocks is Billy’s form to protest. Therefor a sense of belonging is also strengthened when we share it with someone. “….the injured bird…the bird got stronger…and the bird flew away.” The symbolism shown shows us that Old Bill see’s Billy as an “injured bird” he can help. ‘The Simple Gift’ shows the importance of belonging and the struggles we...
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