Belonging consists of a struggle with opposing pressures. A desire to belong also consists of emotional conflicts and struggles between being acknowledged while also remaining as an individual and retaining personal ideals which may ultimately result in a connection. This is explored in Emily Dickinson’s selected poetry I died for beauty, but was scarce and I had been hungry all the years , as well as Scott Westerfeld’s novel Uglies. These texts all depict a struggle between being recognised and accepted in society and the desire to remain true to one’s self, exploring the paradoxical nature of belonging which, on one hand, provides fulfilment, but also removes a sense of personal identity.
Dickinson’s I died for beauty, but was scarce
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Similarly, Dickinson’s I had been hungry all the years explores a struggle between a desire to be acknowledged in a society that had always been distant to her and a hesitation in entering it in fear of losing individuality through a persona’s brief experience with conformity. An initial, craving desire to be accepted is illustrated in “I had been hungry all the years” where “hungry” becomes a symbolisation of her need to enter a society she had never been a part of. This consequently creates a distance from society which results in hesitation as she “touched the curious wine”, the use of imagery effectively depicting the unknown nature of belonging to the persona and therefore a hesitation on how to approach it, also further illustrating the expectations of society through the need for table manners as the persona is required to feast in a specific way. In the end, the persona discovers that “the plenty hurt me”, the unfamiliarity of the society she is given an opportunity to be a part of instead hurting