Belonging and Connection

Belonging is about making connections. Explain how your texts support or challenge this view.

The intrinsic nature of mankind can arguably be describe as one's wish to develop a sense of connection to one another, and this desire to make connections can be described as the wish to belong. Belonging describes the state when one finally reaches an affinity, whether it is physical, emotional or otherwise, with an entity, that may be a community, a place, or ideal. The importance of the desire to belong can be seen in the texts Romulus, My Father by Raimond Gaita, Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin and Fiddler on the Roof by Norman Jewison, all which explore potential barriers to an affinity. These barriers can be described as the inability to make connections due to a different cultural background, physical isolation and conflict caused by differing ideals, which frustrate one's ability to make connections.

Mankind's desire to create connections can be described as the most powerful motivating factor in day-to-day life, and this primarily occurs through development of relationship with other people. A common cultural background can lead to the development of relationships based on mutual interests. However, the opposite is also true – it is difficult to build relationships when there is no common ground. This can be seen in tales of the migrant experience in texts such as Romulus, My Father, Mao's Last Dancer and Fiddler on the Roof. In Romulus, My Father, Raimond Gaita asserts that “Immigrants were tolerated, but seldom given respect accordingly due.” His careful word choice, namely that of the word “tolerated” demonstrates to us that due to differing cultures, the Anglo-Saxon Australian community is slow to accept Romulus due to his Eastern European origins that they cannot relate to. However, they are able to appreciate Romulus' fine works and his character following changes in their attitudes to him. This shows that a cultural barrier is a very real impediment...