Simple Gift

Despite the fact that family is one of the most powerful influences on an individual’s sense of belonging, Billy does not have this comfort in his life. His father is revealed to be an alcoholic and abusive of his son – ‘he’d be sober because I stole his beer his champagne’ and he also the reason that Billy is leaving home at the tender age of sixteen. A strong indicator of the fact that Billy does not feel a sense of belonging occurs in the juxtaposition of the character of his father with Ernie in the poem titled ‘Men’. In this poem Billy contrasts the good qualities that real men have such as generosity, friendliness and an appreciation of the simple things in life with his deprived childhood. Billy states by way of contrast, “There are men like Ernie and there are other men, men like my dad.”
“So I wear the tartan skirt
and the clean white blouse
and I shine my shoes every week
and wear the School Blazer on Sports Day,
indicate to the reader her sense of rebellion against the values of the rich. By contrast, Cailtlin is happy to work at McDonalds and earn her own way into university rather than relying on the money of her parents.
Old Bill’s sense of belonging to his family was destroyed initially when his daughter died and any sense of love from a family was completely severed with the death of his wife. So, although Old Bill did once find comfort and a sense of belonging with his family, now the ghosts of the house are so strong for him that he cannot feel a sense of belonging there anymore. He occasionally goes back to complete maintenance tasks to the outside of the house but cannot stand to enter the house due to the overwhelming memories that haunt him there.
One of the most important factors that impacts on an individual’s sense of belonging is a feeling of attachment to a particular place. Billy, as he is leaving his father’s house, contrasts his feelings about Longlands Road (the road on which his house is situated) which he hates...