HSC Advanced English Assessment Task
Assessment Task: Writing Folio
Hannah Blanco – HSC Advanced English, Mrs A. Stutsel
PART I: Analytical Essay
‘To experience a sense of belonging in all its fullness, first one must experience the opposite: a sense of disconnection and alienation.’
A sense of belonging is a multifarious construction which enables a multitude of varying experiences through diverse circumstances. The true impression of belonging, however, is at its fullest and most profoundly seen when contrasted by the adverse sense of disconnection and alienation. Individuals find the strongest sense of belonging through relations between their society, environment and relationships with others. These three factors help to form the innate desire of the human condition; to belong. Due to this fact by human nature, the disconnections that individuals face are able to onset a perception for the human need of social or environmental interaction to enrich a character’s sense of belonging. Shakespeare’s As You Like It (AYLI) and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (OMaM) are two texts which an exploration of belonging through the counteracting themes leads to an overall profundity in the concept of belonging in its ultimate fullness.
A profound sense of belonging to society, by nature, embodies positive aspects to a person’s being as it fulfils other fundamental factors of the human condition, such as the need for social interaction with community, which thereby instigates a connection to place. This idea is complex in AYLI as a recurring theme throughout the play is disconnection; where some characters are forcibly removes whereas some make the choice to remove themselves from their place. This is shown through the character Duke Senior who, once banished from the court, describes himself as having found a genuine sense of belonging and contentment in the Forest of Arden. He asks Amiens and the audience, “Are not these woods/More free from peril than the envious court?” (2.1.3-4). With the use of rhetorical question, Shakespeare beings attention to the underlying contentment of Duke Senior as he is “free from peril” from the “envious court”. This also demonstrates a negative personal emotion towards the court, hinting at his disconnection, as he degrades its status which is strengthened by the use of emotive language. Through first experiencing the concept of disconnection after his banishment in the court, it is shown that Duke Senior finds a more profound and pure sense of belonging amidst his journey of withdrawal from his home in the Forest of Arden.
Similarly, the concept of disconnection to society is a recurring theme within the novel OMaM and is, likewise to Duke Senior in AYLI, experience due to the sheer force of society itself. George and Lennie are forced away from society and mandatorily migrate to another ranch to escape the trouble that Lennie had caused. In George’s recurring sentiment throughout the novel in order to uphold his optimism, he recounts that “Guys… that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world” for they have “no family” and “they don’t belong no place”, but this is different for themselves noticed in Lennie’s rebuttal, “But not us!” By using the third person tense, Steinbeck effectively distances George and the possibility of him being alone unlike the other men as he has Lennie. This is strengthened by the characterisation of Lennie, who in the novel, suffers from a mental disability; his mentality is child-like. By the juxtaposition of George’s serious yet heart-warming sentiment and Lennie’s naivety, the concept of optimism strengthened by personal relationships through the alienation felt by banishment from society is accentuated and establishes an absolute sense of belonging.
Relations with others, by nature, is a universal sentiment; a fundamental factor of the human condition that highlights