“Even though we all need to belong, we still have important choices to make about belonging”
“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want”, as humans we behave in a manner that will gain us acceptance into any place or group in our world because belonging is a fundamental desire of the human condition. This behaviour can be viewed as conformity it stops us from living our own life. Conformity ties us down and holds us back so we cannot experience life to its full extent; in fact it drags us down and does not allow us to experience the true happiness, freedom and fulfilment which we call life. As a result, we must learn to perceive, understand and make our own choices about belonging. “Redemption” directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall and “Romulus, My Father” written by Raimond Gaita are two texts that explore the consequences of conformity and helps us as the responder to understand this concept.
Our human desire to gain acceptance leads us to behave in accordance with the ideals of others. When we do this we do not realize that these ideals are not always the right thing to do, either ethically or legally. Tookie’s behavior has him viewed by his community as “their superhero” and “their legend”. As his community claims possession of him, his human desire to belong is nourished. However his acceptance to his peers is founded by “murder, violence and bloodshed”. This acceptance can blind ourselves from understanding the nature of our actions and we continue to blindly act. Curtis-Hall focuses on Tookie’s face, covered with grief and darkness and constricted by the thick iron jail bars. This crystallizes how the bonds of conformity eradicate our freedom and simultaneously our true happiness and lead us to “the gates of hell”.
Similarly, in “Romulus, My Father”, Gaita depicts to us how conformity can pave a path toward our self destruction. Going out of our way to behave in a manner that will solely satisfy the expectations or...