Belonging Essay

Belonging is a complex concept which, when placed in different contexts, results in different understandings of the concept’s effect upon an individual or group.   (adapt to question).   This is illustrated in Raimond Gaita’s Romulus, My Father, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Sean Penn’s Into the Wild.   Furthermore, it is evident that individuals may develop a lack of belonging or alienation due to inherent differences in their character or actions.  

For Romulus, his passion for blacksmithing became a refuge from the alienating world outside, where he could truly immerse himself in “his joy in having a hammer and steel in his hands”, characterised by the “distinctive” onomatopoeic “rhythm of his hammering – tap tap bang, tap tap bang”. His love of blacksmithing is conveyed through Raimond’s superlative language (“my father worked furiously”) showing the intensity of his passion, and more emphatically in the fact that it was Romulus’ passion for blacksmithing which helped him mentally recover so quickly from his motorcycle accident – “when he recovered physically, his work brought my father again into spiritual equilibrium” – the spiritual allusion highlighting how his passion for work became a source for his sense of peace and belonging. His passion also gave him validation and respect from the Australian people who appreciated his “superb craftsmanship... in which he took such pride” and this acknowledgement was critical to maintaining Romulus’ sense of belonging, which otherwise suffered due to what he perceived as the moral failings of society.

Leo Tolstoy’s 1873 novel Anna Karenina, stresses the importance of family as a means of obtaining happiness.   Konstantin Levin, after having his marriage proposal denied, seeks solstice in the comforts of farm life.   As an idyll, Tolstoy demonstrates farming as a way in which an individual can develop a sense of belonging from nature, particularly as a means of escape from estranged personal relationships.   “I need...