Belonging Essay

An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging.
Belonging is a human experience which is essential for an individual’s happiness and sense of security. Society can provide the essential elements required for someone to achieve this sense of worth, yet society may also limit others to belong due to its stereotypes and values. Various texts created throughout history portray that the human search for belonging is an eternal quest, with these texts ranging from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Emily Dickinson’s 19th century poetry including, I was hungry all the years, I died for beauty and I gave myself to him, clearly portrays a persona desiring to belong in a society which does not accept her. Ron Howard’s 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind, similarly demonstrates the way individuals of a modern era are isolated if they suffer from a mental illness. However, these texts also portray the way individuals can achieve this sense of connection through a relationship with the natural environment, enriching their experience of belonging.
The traditions and social expectations within a society inevitably alienate individuals who do not fit within these strict guidelines. Emily Dickinson was an eccentric, reclusive poet who grew up during the 19th century.   She expressed a sense of isolation as a result of her interaction with others in her community and the conventions of her time. Her poem, I gave myself to him, emphasises her perception that men have power within society, and that women are seen as a product which can be bought. Throughout this poem, Dickinson clearly criticises the patriarchal nature of her society, in which the role of women was to marry and have children. This is achieved through the use of a conceit, which runs throughout the poem, comparing the constitution of marriage to a business transaction, ‘the solemn contract of a life was ratified this way.’ The use of this conceit satirises the...