Our identity in a community is determined by one’s own internal emotional view of humanity. This is shown in Steven Herrick’s prose novel The Simple Gift, Tim Winton’s novel Breath and Kate Grenville’s novel ‘The Secret River’ through the use of the young disparate protagonists throughout these texts we can observe and extract many adaptations made by personas to survive in a changing world and different meanings of belonging and not belonging. Within the texts we observe individuals gaining a sense of connection and security to other people through literature and imagination.
Individuals need role models in order to develop a reciprocal connection with others, by fostering a sense of identity and develop self-esteem. However the consequences of not achieving t2his relationship leads to loss of identity. Individuals must make choices between different places, communities and other people who offer them different concepts of belonging. . 2. 3. The aspect of individuals needing to gain a sense of connection and security through literature and imagination is illuminated through Tim Winton’s Breath and Steven Herrick’s The Simple Gift.
In Steven Herrick’s The Simple Gift this connection to literature is shown through the protagonist Billy with the use of the quote ‘and I’m there, on the island, /gorging on tropical fruit,/trying to decide/whose side I’m on’ in this quote Herrick’s alludes to William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, this analogy depicts Billy integrating into the novel and deciding which side of society he wishes to assimilate into to, deciding whether or to abide by ‘normal’ customs or challenge rules of society’s expectations. This extended metaphor shows how having a lack of structure or authority leads to chaos and isolation.
Similarly, in Winton’s novel this aspect of literature is shown through the quote “I liked books – the respite and privacy of them – books about plants and the formation of ice and the business of world wars. Whenever I sank into them I felt free” The use of first person, emotive language of ‘liked’ shows that individuals gain a sense of connection and imagination through literature, art and imagination. Winton uses listing as well as diction, with the use of such words like respite and privacy imply safety and security in ones imagination, this allows the protagonist ‘Pikelet’ a getaway from reality and feelings of not belonging.
Individuals need role models in order to develop a reciprocal connection with others, fostering sense of identity and develop self-esteem. However not achieving this relationship leads to a loss of identity. In Steven Herrick’s The Simple Gift, the reciprocal relationship between the personas Old Bill and Billy are shown through the quote ‘I knew that Old Bill was giving/ me more than these keys I held. / holding someone’s past in my dirty hands. ’ This symbolism of the keys is used to illuminate the depth of Billy’s relationship with Old Bill and the concept of belonging represented by a physical house.
This shows Old Bill’s trust in Billy because Old Bill is not only giving Billy a house, he is giving him a part of his life along with removing the degrading tag of homelessness. This is also seen in the quote “two hobos laughing/laughing the morning away”, Herrick’s use of repetition of laughing shows the stable, down to earth relationship between the pair and their deep security placed within each other. The hyperbole of ‘laughing the morning away’ as well as the colloquial language of ‘hobos’ enlightens the reader to admire the mindset of the homeless protagonists.
8. Similarly, this is shown through the protagonist featured in Breath, Pikelet, after his mentor Sando abandons him. “I went numb. I couldn’t say what it was and didn’t dare try. How do you explain the sense of being made to feel improper? ” Tim Winton has manipulated the use of a rhetorical question to highlight Pikelet’s insecurities that have consequentially developed as a result of an upbringing in an isolated town. Winton’s use of diction, using the word ‘improper’ shows us that Pikelet doesn’t belong in his ‘given’ social group.
The colloquial language gives the persona Pikelet a more authentic voice, creating a relatable protagonist. Winton has also used the quote ‘, ‘Sando paddled up and held my hand like a brother or a father. ’ Winton’s simile compares the difference between Sando, and Pikelet’s father who was never there to encourage and support Pikelet during his adolescence, this creates and emotional connection and dependence on Sando, both authors create to relationship to use the depends and mutual addiction on a role model 9. 10.
Finally, Individuals must make choices between different places, communities and other people who offer them different senses of belonging. This is shown by Winton in Breath again through the persona Pikelet when he said “Everything around me seemed so pointless and puny/ Wherever I went I felt like the last awake person in a room full of sleepers”, this simile is used to show Pikelet’s search for belonging and people he could associate with, but not realising the countless barriers in Pikelets unique personality.
In contrast the use of diction in the quote ‘we feel like we naturally belong at the beach, others detest it because they feel alien to it. ’ Shows that Pikelet knows where he belongs and whom he belongs with. 1. Similar shown in the extract of Kate Grenville’s ‘The Secret River’ through the convict protagonist William Thornhill with the quote ‘For them, Home was nothing but a story.
If they were to go to London they would be outsiders’, this metaphor illuminates the choice he must make to uproot his family back to England, even though they have develop a connection to a physical place, it shows they want Australia to be like London. Capital of Home emphasises the significants . The repetition of home throughout the extract is used. Also shown by the hyperbole in ‘Had often been on the wrong side of the wall’ alluding to the wrong side of society, it is also seen as it relates to prison society, feeling trapped and isolated, just like in Australia.
In conclusion both the composers have identified that belonging within a community is determined by ones childhood and background and the role of parental figures and role models, this is achieved through the use of adolescent protagonists as well as relating connection a to literature, enabling individuals to escape to another reality, the composer also highlight the need for role models and belonging in communities to enhance ones sense of humanity.