Points on belonging, as understood from Steven Herrick's the Simple Gift:
- It is the similar needs & desires (e.g. love, happiness) of Caitlin, Billy & Old Bill that draw them together to create their sense of belonging
- The recurring symbol of "gift" signifies both giving and receiving, which are both aspects of belonging (as seen in marriages, when both partners give & receive and therefore find belonging together)
- The Simple Gift explores the idea of identity, particularly as Caitlin & Billy re-shape their identities by choosing their own lifestyle. It is a strong sense of belonging that enables them to develop their identity.
- The Simple Gift discusses mutual belonging - can a person in fact belong to someone or something that does not belong with them? (can a woman belong with a certain man, if he does not belong with her?)
- All three main characters, Billy, Old Bill & Caitlin have chosen where they will belong, rejecting the pressure to belong to mainstream society & conform to its attitudes.
- In choosing where they belong, they have also chosen where they do not belong. Caitlin, for example, decides that she belongs with Billy, and by result, does not belong with her parents.
- There are certain ideologies which box people in (making them belong) or out (making them not belong) and in the Simple Gift, Herrick shows the results of individuals who in fact reject these ideologies, and create their own values in regards to belonging.
- Similar to the previous point, Herrick is portraying a group of people who refuse to allow society to dictate where they belong (for example, society would dictate that Caitlin should belong at university after leaving school), and are instead becoming empowered as individuals and creating their own place of belonging, disregarding social difference and prejudice.
- The contrast between characters helps the reader of the Simple Gift to understand why Billy & the others choose to belong where...
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