Belonging - as You Like It / I Am Sam

Belonging Essay – ‘As you like it’ / ‘I am Sam’
The concept of belonging is explored in texts such as Shakespeare’s play ‘As you like it’ and Jessie Nelson’s film ‘I am Sam’ through literary and filmic techniques which engage and enrich the audiences understanding of the concept. These texts explore notions of belonging to place, family and communities, and the barriers and implications of these. This is done through the employment of techniques to represent ideas and engage the audience in order to create a new, or challenge perceptions of belonging .
In ‘As you like it’ Shakespeare contrasts the settings of various characters in order to challenge perceptions of belonging and manipulate the audiences understanding of belonging to place. This is done through the symbolism of the natural setting of the Forest of Arden in contrast to the constituted, man-made court. Emotive language by Duke Senior such as ‘are not these woods more free from peril than the envious court?’ and Duke Frederick ‘villeins in my court’, position the audience to favour the Forest as a place where characters can find ‘good in everything’. It is described by Senior as a place ‘free from public haunt’, meaning free from the anger and aggression and inner and outer conflict felt in the court, which is represented by the words and actions of Frederick. Through the contrast of these settings and characters Shakespeare is able to explore the concept of belonging to place, and how in order for this to truly be done, one must feel connected and content there, not just have an association there. This is shown through characters leaving the court, though they are able to say they associate with and live in the court, they find true happiness and a sense of identity in the Forest. The Forest becomes a symbol of a place where one can belong through developing meaningful relationships with the environment and the people in it. Thus, in order to belong to place, one must be able to truly connect with...