Belonging Essay

Submitted By lucasimon
Words: 1125
Pages: 5

Considered a fundamental aspect of being human, belonging is an ambiguous concept which can offer individuals a sense of identity, security and connectedness. Experiences of belonging are related to a person’s interaction with others, as positive experiences can improve their sense of belonging, and negative experiences can limit their sense of belonging. An individual’s limited experience of belonging through their lack of ability to positively interact with others can often encorouge them to reject groups through acts of defiance, self-alienation and rebellion. This notion is explored within Peter Skrzynecki’s poem, St. Patrick’s College, from the anthology Immigrant Chronicle, and Terry George’s film Hotel Rwanda as both texts illustrate the protagonist’s limited experience of belonging as their interaction with others lead them to their acts of defiance. Conversely, Peter Skrzynecki’s poem, 10 Mary Street- also from Immigrant Chronicle explores the notion that it is through the positive interaction with others that an enriched sense of belonging can be established.
Negative interactions within a group dynamic leading to a limited sense of belonging is explored in Skrzynecki’s St Patrick’s College, a poem in which the character recalls his schooling years of loneliness whilst using a bland tone to demonstrate his segregation from the school community. The limited sense of belonging is conveyed metaphorically in the description of the character’s schooling years as ones of “darkness”, which is ironic in that the school’s Latin motto, ‘Luceat Lux Vestra” translates to ‘Let your light shine.” The school’s idea of allowing your light to shine, contrasted with the character’s description of a school life of darkness streghthens the fact that the character felt insecure within the school community, further demonstrating that his limited experience of belonging to the group is related to his lack of positive interaction with its members.
There are varying views of the school from the character and his mother. The character’s mother ‘said a prayer’ for her son’s future intention, which demonstrates her hopefulness for her sons future. This can be juxtaposed with the actions of her son, as he violently “stuck pine needles” into the motto. Attacking the motto highlights violence and aggression, the character feels towards the school, which is a direct reflection of his lack of interaction with others resulting in his feelings of insecurity and actions of defiance which builds a larger barrier to belonging.
The idea that negative interactions within a group dynamic can lead to a limited experience of belonging is further explored in Terry George’s Film Hotel Rwanda, , through the rebellious protagonist Bernard Munyagishari and his inability to belong to society as a whole as a result of the sadistic actions he inflicts on people. The audience is introduced to the capabilities of the protagonist in the scene where there is a pan over thousands of bodies lying sprawled across the ground lying in pools of blood and it is through this shockingly bloodthirsty image that the audience realises that the character of Bernard Munyagishari is in fact an evil one. The choice of the images demonstrates that he does not care for positive interactions within society and this therefore limits his sense of belonging to the group, but enhances his sense of belonging to himself.
Munyagishari psychological thirst to rebel is glorified and represented by the non-diegetic musical underscore of “Whispered Song with Inanga Accompaniment”, a piece which plays throughout the entirety of the film as a recurring motif of violence. The symphony is heard primarily in the scenes in which there are acts of violence or images of death.Further demonstrating the protagonist’s desire for negative interactions with others, leading to limited experiences of belonging.
Enriched experiences of belonging, on the other hand, are often initiated at birth with a