Normalcy is almost impossible to define however we can all identify those which society considers being abnormal. For those who fit into this category, belonging can be a difficult achievement. It is important to take into account what is to be normal however why some people have a sense of being different as well. Those who are considered different can find it difficult to belong however for some this is the desired outcome. Mundooroo’s text Wild Cat Falling explores the ideas of having a sense of identity and belonging and how difficult it can be when you are different.
Being normal can be difficult to understand. In society there are rules, values and expectations which ‘normal’ people follow. They provide people with a sense of purpose and belonging as if they are a significant part of a group. It also provides people with stability, security and safety. Belonging to a community with shared rules and values can be a given such as a student at school. Students are generally required to wear uniform so they can be identified as a student. They are also required to respect teachers and call them by their names as well as raising your hand in class if you have a question.
This is an expectation that schools have administered over the years and is considered general behaviour and ‘normal’ in a school environment. The protagonist in Wildcat Falling is an aboriginal boy who attends school and lives in a house, which the Noongar kids call the ‘”a-di-dah house”. His father was white therefore he was sent to school as an expectation of white people however kids similar to him from both aboriginal parents can’t afford to go to school and see Wildcat as ‘different’. This makes it difficult for him to find where he belongs and they call him “a cocky in a cage”. Normal is the values and expectations people follow to feel secure and safe and is if they belong.
It may be all well and good to be normal, but some people have a sense of being different which can make it difficult to belong. It can be hard for some people because they just don’t fit into ‘normal’ societal expectations for example 1950s gay men and women. It was deemed very abnormal to be attracted to the opposite sex as it also goes against religious beliefs. People with a physical disability and mental health issues can also find it very difficult to belong as people in society aren’t always educated about them therefore don’t understand or accept their situation as they are not familiar with it. This can be very degrading towards people with disability and make their lives difficult to lead. Like these people, Wildcat finds it difficult to feel as though he belongs. In order to gain that feeling, he alters his arrest so that he could be put into solitary confinement. “After solitary the prison accepted me as if I had never been accepted outside. I belonged”. In this aspect he was recognised as ‘tough’ by the other prisoners and wasn’t rejected. Being different can make it hard not to be rejected by society.
In many cases people choose not to belong however as they reject societal norms such as Emos for example. Yes, they look and act different to ‘ordinary’ people. They have the desire to attract attention by the way they dress and present themselves. Emos are stereotyped as depressed people who cut themselves, have dark hair that covers most of their face as well as wearing black clothes. That however is an extremely stereotypical view of emos. They are appropriately considered to poses very strong emotions, hence the word emo. They choose to outwardly express themselves unlike majority of society that choose to often keep their emotions neutral due to fear of judgment and the desire to belong and feel valued by others. Wildcat sees the world as a “fake heaven” and jail as a refuge. He doesn’t want to belong in society because he finds it “unrealistic” and believes released people will “fail and fail”. Therefore having that abnormal sense can make it difficult to belong however that can ultimately be the desired outcome for many.
Normal and different have many aspects that define them both. To be normal can be influenced by values and expectations, which if they aren’t generally followed can lead people to be viewed as different. Despite all of this, many people find it hard to belong by being different and others simply don’t seek to be the same in any way. Many people in society do want to stand out and be different.
This essay is designed to engage an audience of year 12 students who are familiar with the ideas of the context “Identity and Belonging”. I have chosen to adopt and expository form in order to enable me to explore my key ideas in a formal style at writing. I have chosen formal language in order to convey my message in a manner that will ensure my audience understands what I am exploring. My expository essay will address the big ideas of what it is to be normal, how some people find it hard to belong if they are different and how some people don’t want to be accepted in response to the prompt. My essay will utilize both outside references and references to the text Wildcat Falling in order to support my big ideas.