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An insightful article on what it means to belong, through Shakespeares, As you like it and 2 related texts.

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To belong or not to belong, that is the question An insightful article on what it means to belong, through Shakespeare's, 'As you like it' and 2 related texts. Written by Alice Sherwood As John Donne once said, 'No man is an Island'. It is the nature of human's to belong, and by having connections to people, places and family, individuals can flourish in their true identities as they find a sense of security, comfort and contentment from this indelible need. Shakespeare is a curious character. He writes a pastoral comedy, which oversteps the boundaries of many social rules, with fantastical places and magical transformations. On the outside, it seems like a play of all fun and games, written to give the audience a laugh or two. But, delve deeper and many challenging concepts are found, such as the effect of connections with people, place and family to one's identity, the gender expectations that become barriers in preventing belonging and the sense of security, comfort and contentment that arises from flourishing in your true identity as a result of belonging. ...read more.


He says, 'I do not shame to tell you what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes, being the thing I am". Shakespeare uses these techniques and quotes to explore the concept that a connection to a place can bring a sense of belonging as relationships develop, creating a sense of security, comfort and contentment. The picture in Shaun Tan's picture book, "The red tree" also explores this concept of belonging coming from a connection to place and relationships to create a sense of security, comfort and contentment. Instead of encouraging this, as Shakespeare did, Tan highlights the consequences of not having these connections and the lack of belonging that the young girl is faced with. Many characters are in the image, but no relationship is created between them. Everyone is alone, turning their backs on those around them. The only connection is between 2 characters holding hands, juxtaposing with the young girl, who is completely alone. This presents a stark contrast, as she has no connections to the place, no sense of security and comfort, as shown through her posture and position in the image. ...read more.


Shakespeare uses this play to challenge this idea through Rosalind who cross-dresses as Ganymede in the forest. Dramatic irony is used, as the audience knows that Ganymede is Rosalind, but Orlando doesn't. This allows her to step out of her social expectations and grow in her true identity, highlighting the barrier of gender expectations that prevented her from belonging before. Barriers that prevent belonging are also present in 'Rabbit Proof Fence'. The culture of the indigenous people prevents them from belonging to the white society, as they are persecuted and seen as inferior because of their race. The shot of the three aboriginal girls in a cage on a train symbolises their treatment like animals, not humans, because of their race. They do not have a sense of security and comfort as their identity is being taken way from them, forging the environment for lack of belonging. I am convinced Shakespeare continues to deliver deep and thought-provoking plays with hidden messages that keep being revealed, centuries after they were written. Belonging has been interwoven in the cleverest way, encouraging students like me to delve deep and continually gain knowledge and wisdom. Now the question remains, do you belong? ...read more.

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