As You Like It Belonging Essay

1567 words 7 pages

An individual’s sense of belonging can be shaped by numerous elements of their interactions with other people and places. To obtain a true sense of belonging, these elements must work to support and accept the individual in their discovery of a fulfilled and contented existence. These essential concepts of belonging are displayed within William Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A.B. Patterson’s poem Clancy of the Overflow. Through the composers’ use of dramatic, language, poetic and literary techniques, we are able to explore the various aspects and ideas which lead to a deep sense of belonging.

One of the fundamental concepts of belonging
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Shakespeare’s use of emotive language is also evident in the dialogue “a poor, unworthy brother of yours”, which enriches our understanding of Orlando’s true sense of alienation. Through Adam’s dramatic imagery in Act 2, Scene 3, Orlando is confronted with the harsh reality of life in the courts; “This is no place, this house is but a butchery”. Shakespeare uses this language to reflect on the brutal ways of the ‘civilised’ world, and thus creating further emphasis on the lack of belonging that Orlando experiences. This imagery is contrasted to the positive tone and dialogue of Duke Senior once he reaches the forest, “this is our life, except from public haunt”, which highlights his newfound sense of harmony and belonging to his new surroundings in the forest. At the conclusion of the play we see the dramatic irony used by Shakespeare, as against popular belief of the forest symbolising belonging, all parties return to the courts. This event symbolises the fantasy aspect of the forest, as although they seem to belong in the natural setting, they must eventually return to reality.

In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the fundamental idea of belonging is Huck’s connection with place and the symbolic nature of the river juxtaposed to the land. Through Twain’s use of first person narrative, we are able to be immersed in Huck’s struggle to avoid a hypocritical society and live true to his own morals and beliefs, and in the process discover his true


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