Having the right personal or social qualities, initially to be a part of a particular group defines belonging and even not belonging. The personal feeling of belonging can be portrayed within various text types it is dynamic and depends on how it is explored and shaped through many structures, language forms and features. Therefore this essay will effectively differentiate the perspectives and approaches to the element of belonging by contrasting two different texts. The selected text types certainly depict the element, firstly through the film ‘Strictly Ballroom’ directed by Baz Luhrmann, which explores the tension between uniqueness and conformity. And secondly the novel ‘The Ink Bridge’ by Neil grant, which explores the alienation and ignorance about a whole new culture. In the film ‘strictly ballroom’ Lurhmann was able to show the personal, cultural and social contexts.
We as the audience saw these ideas through the use of Scott Hastings as the initial protagonist illustrating these contexts. Scott is a professional ballroom dancer that has his own unique dance moves. This portrays his personal not belonging The structure that differentiates the two is the formation as a fairy tale like story. By using a very popular kids structure Luhrmann shapes the perception of not belonging using personal, cultural and social context. Scott Hastings as the hero is supported by his whole family and many other dancers that share his coach, Lez Kendall’s dance studio. This puts pressure on Scott to dance traditionally; by the rules of Barry Fife, or also known as the enemy, and not his unique style. His unique style helps him stand out from other traditional dancers but it forbidden and which is the reason he is much alienated.
Fran the princess is labelled as a ‘beginner’ despite her two years experience in ballroom dancing. Fran willingly tries and succeeds to become Scott’s partner, which is his key to free himself from the alienation created by the many people that prefer to think of Scott over themselves. The three part book reflects on the journey where two worlds meet, where cultures assemble and beliefs link. The division is first told by Omed’s story, then Hector Morrow’s before they meet. The third and final section is told from Hec’s perspective as a young adult, journalist. Similar to Strictly Ballroom the same context is used to shape the idea of not belonging through the story of a young Afghan boy, Omed Noori.
Omed resides in Bamiyan, Afghanistan with his loving widowed mother and younger siblings. This portrays the hardship and responsibility as the eldest among his siblings, also the belonging he felt as he was said to be his father’s jewel (favourite). However when he successfully sought asylum in Australia, he was alienated from the Australian community to a great extent. This was due to his unusual customs and poor social behaviour because his tongue was badly mutilated from the punishment of the Taliban’s. This set odds between him and the strange community he set his footing on.
The hero is aware of his alienation and tries to find out what is so wrong about it and why Barry Fife and his committee are strongly against it but really they believe that Scott is a bad influence to the community and his saying ‘one bad egg can rot the whole barrel’ could take place. Scott is driven by Fran’s statement of ‘to live with fear is a life half-lived’ and this is what drives him eagerly towards his dream, his dream of dancing in the Pan Pacific’s, despite the trouble he is and may face.
Grant exposes a sense of belonging that emerges when the bond between Omed and the Poet of Kandahar started. They were singled out from the many individuals and groups formed within the unwelcoming Pakistan Refugee Camp. Their bond started when the Poet brought tears into Omed’s eyes as he said ‘we are much the same, grandson, you and me, I feel this.’ This refilled Omed’s sense of belonging and lightened him up. Both of these texts whether they are the most popular art form of the twentieth century or a need of profession and skill to produce the other in depth, both portray the different perspectives and idea about belonging between the two unique structured and featured text types.