Belonging Shakespeares as You Like It and Tim Wintons Cloudstreet

An individual’s placement within the world creates a powerful formative influence over one’s sense of belonging. Characters experience a level of acceptance and security through their relationships with each other under the influence of their physical surroundings. William Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet explore the sense of belonging that develops through familial relationships. Both composers analyse how place can nurture or destroy those affiliations.
Places are perhaps most important in shaping the characters sense of belonging or displacement. The worlds of court and countryside are discordant for the court promotes rivalry and disarray; the forest of Arden promotes harmony and congeniality. The juxtapositions between the two settings establish true values and true belonging for those who travel to the forest.   Act 2 Scene 3 We see Orlando outside his brother’s house excluded from belonging “this is no place, this house is but a butchery, abhor it, fear it, do not enter.” The use of harsh imperative language is clearly juxtaposed with the harmonious setting of the forest.
The house on Cloudstreet begins as a dark, threatening entity. The formidable house at number one Cloudstreet causes a sense of alienation for the Pickles therefore preventing them from experiencing a natural feeling of belonging.   The text uses language of alliteration and personification to describe their arrival emphasizing the feeling of displacement the house places on them. “The big emptiness of the house around them, paralysing them with space and surfaces... They have no money and this great continent of house doesn’t belong to them… their lost.”
The plays forest setting is physically and spiritually cut off from the characters own world. This isolation has the potential to create a false sense of reality that fosters a re-examination of self and social relationships which inturn lead to insight. It is surely love, more than anything else, which leads to...