“An individual’s life experiences can enhance or diminish their belonging”
An individual’s life experiences can enhance or diminish their sense of belonging. Belonging can be used to describe when an individual is accepted through personal, cultural, historical and social connections. This is evident in Shakespeare’s play Othello and David Fincher’s 1999 film ‘Fight Club”. Both composers manipulate and explore the concept of belonging and alienation through the theme of identity and with the use of literary devices and cinematic techniques, both composers convey how positive and negative experiences can affect an individual’s sense of belonging.
Life experiences can contribute to a loss or discovery of identity, sequentially enhancing or diminishing an individual’s sense of belonging. This is effectively expressed in Shakespeare’s Othello. Throughout the play, Othello is seen trying to model himself into the perfect Venetian, adopting the Venetian society’s conceptions of race, marriage religion and power and working to break free of traits stereotyped on the ‘Moor’. His attempt in adopting this new identity is successful to quite an extent. Despite physical alienation experienced by Othello due to his racial differences, his sense of belonging in the Venetian society is instigated by his great reputation as a general and his marriage to Desdemona. However the racial divisions in the Venetian society still existed, evident in the quote “an old black ram Is topping your white ewe”. Iago uses bestial metaphoric racial slurs to suggest that Desdemona is being defiled by Othello, and he plays on Elizabethan notions that black men are animalistic in nature. Othello, due to his position and power in society, slowly isolates himself and becomes dependant on the manipulative Iago and also contributes to Desdemona’s alienation from her father. Concluding that experiences endured by individuals can influence their sense of belonging.
Similarly in fight club, identity plays a significant role in an individual’s sense of belonging. Fight club is essentially about. a generation of men, ruled by capitalism and materialism, searching for a spiritual purpose, a sense of belonging. These men are lost, without ideals, without purpose, without identity in a world of consumerism and lifeless existence. The story follows narrator Jack, who because of his sleep deprivation is barely aware of his surroundings and is ultimately alienated. “With insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy." With the repetition of the word ‘copy’ in this hyperbolic quote and the repetitive low angle shots on Jacks vacant expression, he suggests that his life lacks substance and this defines his loss of identity, Thus diminishing his sense