???Belonging is always problematic???
I think this statement is true, as belonging is naturally a complex process that also has a dynamic tension between longing and belonging. The impact of this paradoxical nature can be evaluated through the individual??™s choice to belong or not to belong in the face of what is necessary or expected to belong. This is seen in the texts that I have studied Emily Dickenson??™s existential poems and Richard Attenborough??™s film Gandhi.
Looking first at Emily Dickinson context-we see her as a self imposed recluse, from an exclusive conservative wealthy class who composes from a vantage point of seclusion. So in her poem 66, the use of a metaphorical letter acts as an automatic distancing device representative of the persona??™s detachment and rejection by the world. It may be natural for some people to isolate themselves from the world and to serve or study humanity but then long more with intimately connect to the world. Thus attempting to connect to the world in a symbolic puritian nature and abstractedly through the natural bond they share, her place of belonging by employing dominate tones of exclusion and injustice when addressing the word that ironically the world ???never wrote to me??? . Powerful sensory imagery in the metaphor of hands in the lines ???To hands I cannot see??¦Judge tenderly of me??? represents connection and comfort. However this conflict implies the persona suffering from a tension that arises from her basic human instincts to be part of her own kind, and to feel accepted by them but the persona??™s wider society threatens to make her feel alienated and vulnerable. The cost of belonging is depicted when she sacrifices her companionship the freedom of individuality. On the other hand, to not belong to art would be a life of misery and dishonesty to oneself. Hence, it is problematic to belong to her own inner dimensions as an artistic individual within in the constraints of the wider world.
On a more abstract level, Dickenson??™s poem 82, I had been hungry all these years??? presents an existentialist drama where the persona explores the tension between social cohesion and individualism. Her experimental style and use of startling and puzzling images and connotations give meaning and ambiguity to phrases such as ???dining??? which refers to the desire for inclusion and communal participation while ???touched the curious wine??? has references to the Christian communion but also refers to the emotional security and comfort which she had access and proximity to but she, at her ???noon??? or her peak of desire, denied herself consummation, much similar to the way Dickenson chose to reject her religious society.
This positions us responders to see the value of state of being versus the state of thinking, as yet she feels vulnerable without an affirmation of her connection to society seen through the physical sensations of ???hungry??? describing the physical longing to belong.
So this poem??™s exploration of the contradictory nature of belonging which makes it problematic is summarised in the final line ???that entering takes away??? suggests advances allows the speaker more comfortable in a state of denial which in turn benefits her by allowing her to find her own self of individuality and identity. By not belonging to the society, the sake of self-satisfaction is foregone to experience a positive feeling of belonging.
Both these textual forms which I have studied, extended my insight on the meaning and problematic nature of belonging as wide-ranged, abstract and greatly dynamic process including inherent complexities and tensions surrounding choices of whether to belong or not to belong which comes with a cost.
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