Belonging and Outcast

What determines whether we are a member or an outcast has little to do with whether we feel we belong or not. A definition of an outsider is: ‘One who is outside or not included’. Whether we are an outsider or not is determined by whether a group actively accepts us or not. Often the statement is true. If we don’t feel we belong, we are likely an outsider, and if we feel we belong, we probably are included and accepted. However this statement is not absolute, since there is a large difference between feeling we belong and actually belonging. It is quite possible to feel you belong and yet remain an outsider, or have a sense that you don’t belong and yet be accepted. The poems of Emily Dickinson, and the animated film ‘Princess Mononoke’ by Hayao Miyazaki, deal with the relationship between the sense of belonging and being included or outcasted.

      If we don’t feel that we belong, the majority of the time we are excluded by that subject, and our sense of rejection is resultant of the exclusion. The poem ‘This is my letter to the world” by Emily Dickinson is an example of the sense of rejection that is often resultant of exclusion. The first two lines state “This is my letter to the world | That never wrote to me.” The fact that she is writing ‘to the world’ suggests that she is not a part of it. Dickinson personifies nature as ‘her’ suggesting she is personally involved with nature. Contrasted to this is her addressing to ‘the world’, a highly impersonal reference highlighting her sense that she doesn’t belong. The world so far has never written to her. As a result of that, she writes this letter, which clearly outlines her sense of exclusion from the world. Therefore through this poem we see that isolation can lead to a sense of rejection.
Princess Mononoke is the story of a boy named Ashitaka, who due to a curse travels from his small village into the wider world in search of a cure. Upon the way he discovers the war between the villagers of “Iron Town”,...