English Exam Study ESSAY

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INTERVIEWER: hello and welcome back to ABC RADIO 5, today’s segment, in honor of our ‘belonging’ week, we have in the studio TODAY, Shakespeare expert Eleanor Wridley and ‘Ray Bradbury’ fanatic Daniel Sharpe – how are you doin’ guys ?

WRIDLEY & SHARPE: Great yeah thank you!

INTERVIEWER: Alright good! Well hopefully with these great minds here and their knowledge, we are able to uncover the nature of belonging, and its importance in growing up and holds concepts that triggers physical, emotional, internal and personal changes, so Ms. Wridley, lets start with you, belonging to a place is important to give people a sense of security and a place of comfort, how is this concept shown in Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’?

WRIDLEY: well people belong to places, individuals and groups, and this is highly incorporated into as you like it. The forest of Arden is a metonym for the religious place of the Garden of Eden, as nature represents the perfect healing place and a theme of purity and perfection. Duke Senior implies this metaphor when describing the natural world and its healing properties. The quote ‘tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermans in stones and good in everything’.
The forest cures the illness of the court, as the court is seen as a world of darkness, corruption and not belonging, to leave the court is not seen as a punishment, but rather liberating, ironically it represents a fresh start. People belong where they most feel at ease

INTERVIEWER: wow yeah! I can totally see the concepts in that, what about bradburys ‘dark and they were golden eyed?’ Mr. Sharpe? Does it explore the transformational power of a person’s environment?

SHARPE: oh absolutely! Dark and they were golden eyed is about settlers on mars that are transformed from human beings into Martians, as the planet adapts its invaders to itself. Character, place and language are key aspects used in the story to demonstrate the process of belonging. The main character, Harry Bittering, feels lost and alienated in his first moments on mars, this is made clear in the quote ‘leaving the man alone among his family, this is further reinforced by the simile ‘as if he were standing at the center of a vacuum’. Bittering feels lost and empty ‘I feel like salt crystal in a mountain stream’. Cut off from his home back on earth, Bittering is isolated in his new environment, Mars.

What’s interesting is that rather than adapting the landscape to suit the settlers, the landscape transforms the settlers themselves, the humans become martians. Personification suggests the danger of mars, initially it is the fruit and vegetables which change ‘onions but not onions, carrots but not carrots’. The process of belonging is completed when the children obtain new names, the language connects the people to the world and demonstrates that they now belong. Character, setting and language highlight the process of belonging, as it reveals how place transforms everyone, makes outsiders into insiders.

INTERVIEWER: yes yes! So as we can tell from both texts, setting normally influences a character and their confidence in belonging, what about other aspects that can contribute to a persons feeling of belonging? ARE THERE ANY OTHER? Ms. Wridley?

WRIDLEY: Definitely, the first group of people we belong, or in some cases NOT belong to, is our family of course, and in ‘As you like it’ family is one of the most important concepts! Families are ironically a cause of not belonging in ‘as you like it’, it is seen as a very dysfunctional family, the absence of female role models, perhaps causing Oliver to dominate and abuse his brother Orlando, Duke Fredrick over through his brother the rightful Duke Senior, all symptoms of a non working, non belonging family relationship. Orlando describes his treatment from his brother in a