Belonging - Swallow the Air Essays

1047 Words Feb 25th, 2011 5 Pages
‘An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging.’
BY joseph king
When an individual’s sense of identity is corrupted through prejudicial attitudes they are left exposed and vulnerable allowing a sense of isolation and displacement in society. An individual’s ability to promote change within is largely influenced by the hardships they experience in their struggle to conform and the connectedness of identity that stems from acceptance. Tara June Winch’s novel Swallow the air, adapts the core concept that the perceptions and ideas of belonging are shaped within personal, cultural, historical and social contexts defining who we are resulting in a true understanding and
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The non- standard pronunciation, ‘gunna’ and ‘ya’ in place of ‘going to’ and ‘you’ accentuate the abuse. The swearing emphasises the passion and exhibits the emotional power that these attitudes hold over May’s vulnerability.
An individual’s search for identity is fuelled by a need to find a place in the world where we belong, thus not belonging consequently leas to a feeling of alienation and isolation. This notion is explored through May’s journey seeking to connect with her racial heritage, her idea of understanding and acceptance. The old man Graham, May encounters at the mission expresses an Aboriginal perspective on the contemporary relationship between the two societies. “no one to talk about it. And they die, kill em selves, than those governments just put another numba, nother cross in they list. They still trying to do it, kill us of, tell us that its always been they plan.” They hybrid vernacular communicates the hatred through the ethnolect strongly marked by the non –standard features of the pronouns in “they list,” “they plan.” Graham’s diatribe reflects him as an individual demonstrating the marginalisation of the minority groups. Similarly, Armin Greder’s picture book The island demonstrates the notion concerning the duality of belonging with its inherit prejudices and xenophobic attitudes expresses the majority’s deliberate exclusion of ‘the other’ outside

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