Essay about Self-concept and Contextual Surroundings

Submitted By MaryanneMazzeo1
Words: 1265
Pages: 6

Belonging is a multifaceted concept which enables the individual to understand their contextual surroundings, notably their place and purpose. This idea of belonging, or a lack of belonging, ultimately establishes one’s sense of self, and either drive or eliminate one’s sense of fulfillment in life. Such an idea is explored through William Shakespeare text ‘As you like you’ and Friday Khalos’, ‘the borderline between Mexico and the united states.’ The combination of these texts, allow the responder to explore that a sense, or lack of belonging, results in isolation and the destruction of self-identity, however often also self-knowledge and wisdom. These two distinct and opposite concepts will be explored, proving that belonging is a loose and complex ideal.

In Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ the responder becomes exposed to the idea that the inability to identify one’s contextual surroundings is destructive to one’s self. This is exposed through the broken relationship of the two brothers, Oliver and Orlando who fight for each other’s, and societies acceptance; an action that is often undertaken by an individual to feel as though they belong. Oliver’s duplicity to achieve acceptance is made evident in his contrasting use of phrases. His tone of resentment in ‘Secret and villainous contriver against me, his natural brother’ as opposed to his tone of concern in ‘ I speak but brotherly of him’ highlights his manipulative strategy to gain acceptance and reveals to the audience his cunning nature. Shekespeare also utilizes the biblical allusion to Cane and Abel to compare the relationship between the brothers and their tragic fate to what may become of them if they pursue this power quest to belong. This struggle for acceptance highlights the desperation an individual may feel as a result of their broken family connections, The dislocated syntax in Oliver’s ‘yet I know not why-’ reflects his inability to understand why he hates his brother. This allows the audience to further understand Oliver’s dissatisfaction with his familial relationship thus leading to his own personal disappointment. Notably, it highlights an understanding to the common destruction of his self identity in his quest to avoid alienation. Contrastingly, we are able to see the importance of family to Orlando through “The courtesy of nations allows you my better in that you are the first-born, but the same tradition takes not away my blood.’’ This litote emphasises the importance of connections and belonging to family for Orlando and gives him a sense of identity.In the denouement of the play, Oliver’s gaining of self awareness provides him with the realization for change, evident in ‘Twas I, but tis not I”. This contrasting use of past tense and present tense is used to show his change in character and coupled with the use of personal pronoun at the end of each phrase highlights his ability to understand that taking on a secondary role may in fact lead to acceptance and fulfillment. Thus, Orlando’s inability to understand why he is being punished by his brother, and likewise, Oliver’s initial quest for self-aggrandizement, highlights the disappointing feeling that each persona may feel in their quest to belong to each other. Their disappointment hence initially prevents them from creating fulfilling relationships.

Orlando and Oliver hence first need to feel familial belonging in order to belong to their community. Similarly, Frida Kahlo’s Portrait ‘On The Borderline Between Mexico and the United States’ (1932) explores an individual’s struggle to understand her place in society, evident through the artworks direct split between Mexican and American culture. This split ultimately indicates Fridas displaced state, as she is position in the middle of both cultures. This polarized sense of belonging has causes Frida to feel isolated as a result of her social estrayement. Khalo is wearing a pink ruffled dress exposing her femininity and association…