HSC English Essay - Belonging

Topics: Human condition, Metaphor, Personal life Pages: 4 (1392 words) Published: October 11, 2013
How have your set text and two chosen texts represented different perceptions of belonging or not belonging? Obtaining a sense of belonging is an intrinsic desire inextricably linked to our human nature. However, the inherent yearning to identify with a society, personality or context; can ironically lead to the compromising of one’s values that in turn hinges our sense of belonging. Such paradoxical interplay between a sense of connection and a loss of self is evident in Emily Dickinson’s poems I Died for Beauty; I had been Hungry all these Years and This is my Letter to the World, David Grossman’s reflective essay Writing in the Dark and Jason Reitman’s film Up in the Air. All three composers highlight the impracticality of humanity’s innate desire for belonging whereby those who attempt to force a sense of connection, ultimately lose a part of their nature. In I Died for Beauty, Dickinson explores the values of ‘truth’ and ‘beauty’ as a barrier in one’s quest for a sense of belonging. The inter-textual reference to Romantic Poet John Keats "Ode on a Grecian Urn", in which ‘ beauty is truth, truth beauty’ symbolically connects the two values as one. Through this metaphorical patriotic linkage of the morals as “brethren” and “kinsmen”, Dickinson encapsulates her sense of connection these morals bring. However, the accumulation of gothic association to death in “died for beauty... tomb... who died for truth…” accentuates the extent to which these values segregate Dickinson from her society and even her own identity. As she “died for” beauty and truth her sacrifice and desperate yearning for companionship is clear, and is metaphorically achieved only in death, yet even in bereavement is still being separated by “adjoining room(s)”. Through gothic imagery in the line “moss had reached our lips” and covered her “name” Dickinson symbolizes the complete loss of her sense of belonging by attaining to these morals. By suggesting that in order to belong, one must...
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