HSC English Essay - Belonging

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How have your set text and two chosen texts represented different perceptions of belonging or not belonging? Obtaining a sense of belonging is an intrinsic desire inextricably linked to our human nature. However, the inherent yearning to identify with a society, personality or context; can ironically lead to the compromising of one’s values that in turn hinges our sense of belonging. Such paradoxical interplay between a sense of connection and a loss of self is evident in Emily Dickinson’s poems I Died for Beauty; I had been Hungry all these Years and This is my Letter to the World, David Grossman’s reflective essay Writing in the Dark and Jason Reitman’s film Up in the Air. All three composers highlight the impracticality of humanity’s…show more content…
Dickinson’s This is my Letter to the World raises tension between exclusion and the human conditions’ longing for belonging. Dickinson’s “letter to the world” is an extended metaphor of her deliberate attempt to establish an affinity with her society through art- her literature just like Grossman’s essay. Her vulnerability and isolation, is evident in her personal tone with “my letter” being exposed to the wider “world”. This disclosure juxtaposed with the next line “that never wrote to me” further emphasizes her reality filled with isolation. The juxtaposition encapsulates her position as an outsider, interplaying the themes of inclusion and exclusion, seen through her desire for her art to be reciprocated and appreciated by the open distant world. Furthermore, Dickinson covets for a sense of connection through the reoccurring motif of the natural world, personifying “her” as a feminine persona with a nurturing capacity emphasizes through the accumulation of endorsing imagery “tender majesty… hands I cannot see…for love of her”. Despite her lack of relationship with her environment, she elevates nature to be majestic further denigrating her own self status as her writing will still be “judged” no matter how “tenderly”. Thus Dickinson seeks a sense of belonging through nature deriving from the human condition, yet in this driving process towards inclusion is met by exclusion from her sense of identity

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