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Belonging narrative in 'The Redfern Address' by Paul Keating

Categories Australia, Book Review, Emotion, Literature

Essay, Pages 4 (769 words)

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Essay, Pages 4 (769 words)

Belonging is defined as being an individual’s need to fit in to a specific location. The statement “ an individuals sense of belonging is determined by not only an individuals choices but also attitudes of others. ” this is highly accurate; this can be seen within the text ‘The Redfern Address’ by Paul Keating. Belonging is the process in which an individual’s perceptions, social allegiance and identities are formed, reinforced or destroyed. In order to establish a sense of belonging, an individual must first understand their need to belong, and comprehend the world in which they want to belong.

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When an individual does belong, they are able to feel a connectedness and security with those that they belong with, and often share the same values and beliefs. However there are many barriers that can prevent this. These can be seen through the form of attitudes and lack of acceptance, however an individual’s choice can also be the incentive for belonging.

This idea is clearly present within the speech ‘The Redfern Address’ by Paul Keating, through which the composer indicates that in order for indigenous Australians to fully belong in Australian society , the attitudes of wider Australian society need to change.

To begin, the political speech ‘The Redfern Address’ by Paul Keating demonstrates how an individuals sense of belonging is not only determined by and individuals choices but also attitudes of others. The speech highlights the negative consequences of exclusion and isolation, the factor, which was imposed upon the indigenous Australians during the European invasion.

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Paul Keating highlights how individuals sense of belonging can be determined by others attitudes within the line ‘recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing, we took the traditional land and smashed the traditional way of life’.

This represents the acknowledgement of the actions of non-aboriginal Australians, upon the aboriginal population. The emotive language ‘smashed the traditional way of life’ creates empathy towards the indigenous audience as non-aboriginal Australians tore them away from their ‘ traditional way of life’-sense of belonging, ultimately forcing them to belong to what the non-aboriginal Australians thought was the right way to live. Keating highlights the negative consequences of exclusion and isolation through the use of alliteration in the line ‘ …demoralization and desperation, the fractured identity’.

The alliteration within the term ‘desperation and ‘ demoralization’ highlights the consequences of the attitudes of the Europeans that was imposed upon the indigenous Australians as children were removed from their homes and families had their land taken away, in which fractured their sense of belonging. Therefore the speech ‘ the redfern address’ highlights the notion that and individuals sense of belonging is not only determined by individual choices but by the attitudes and implements of others.

Furthermore the text ‘The Redfern Address’ explored the suffering and trauma, which resulted upon the aboriginal Australians from the imposition of the attitudes of non-aboriginal Australians. When Keating discusses Australia’s ‘…failure to bring much more than devastation and demoralization to aboriginal Australia’, he acknowledges the vital role of social acceptance shaping a positive sense of wellbeing –something indigenous Australians have been denied throughout history.

Keating also highlights the serious consequences of social rejection on both a personal and social level, which turn affects and individuals ability to allow a strong sense of belonging. Keating utilizes the literary techniques of inclusive language in the line, ‘I think we all need to open our hearts a little bit’, as it highlights the sympathy from the responder, as those belonging to the dominant cultural group are able to recognize their part in maintaining the oppression of the indigenous Australians, which allows the responder to relate to their dislocation and displacement.

The oppression of the indigenous Australians convey how an individuals belonging is not only controlled by their choices, but by the attitudes of others.  ‘The Redfern Address’, highlights how an individuals sense of belonging is not always subject to individuals choices, but by others attitudes. In conclusion, the text, ‘The redfern address’ reinforces the notion that an individual’s sense of belonging is not only determined by individual’s choices but also by the attitudes of others.

Through the study of this text it is evident that a strong sense of belonging allows for an individuals sense of identity to be elevated. Also the text depicts the way rejection and exclusion can affect an individual’s sense of belonging. Rejection and oppression has the ability to shatter the identity of an individual and cultural level. Thus conveying through ‘the redfern address’ how an individual’s sense of belonging is not always determined by an individual, but can be by others attitudes.

Cite this essay

Belonging narrative in ‘The Redfern Address’ by Paul Keating. (2018, Oct 24). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/belonging-narrative-in-the-redfern-address-by-paul-keating-essay

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