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To me belonging is a sense of enlightenment felt when an individual gains an understanding of themselves in relation to others and the wider world. To actually feel as if we belong, we must first accept ourselves and be accepted by others. A real sense of belonging can be determined by self-acceptance and acceptance by a group. However, when difficult situations are experienced, an individual may gain a sense of belonging through self-acceptance alone.
This is clearly represented in the novel, ‘The Passage’, written by Justin Cronin, the poem, ‘St.
Patricks College’, composed by Peter Skrzynecki and the film, ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ directed by Stephen Chbosky. These three texts clearly reflect how one would belong through self-acceptance. ‘The Passage’ is a post-apocalyptic thriller about an ancient vampiric disease that destroys society and leaves only a handful of people alive including Amy, the protagonist, who incidentally holds the key to the survival of the human race.
The main protagonist, Amy, with specific reference to chapter 23, is travelling the apocalyptic landscape of America where she gains a certain self-acceptance due to the difficult situation that she is dealing with.
The difficult situation being that Amy is scientifically immortal and has kept to living on her own and ultimately, surviving on her own. Cronin reveals “It was summer again and she was alone. Alone with no one but the voices she heard, everywhere and all around. ” To us, it reveals how alone Amy really is and ultimately how she has come to accept herself for what she is.
This revelation of Amy’s has come from the situation she has had to deal with and in a way, grown up with. The situation being that the world has ended, she is immortal and she has no one to belong with. Due to the difficult situation that Amy is in she has had to draw her own sense of belonging from herself as opposed to feeling as if she belongs with other people. For Skrzynecki in ‘St. Patricks College’ he has had to accept himself, like Amy, though a difficult situation is faced he has still been able to feel a sense of belonging with himself. Skrzynecki feels “Like a foreign tourist,” whenever he attends St.
Patricks College or whenever he is among others who attend St. Patricks College. This highlights the feelings of Skrzynecki and how he as an individual feels as though he does not belong with them. Skrzynecki even reveals that he is “Uncertain of” his “destination”. This yet again implies how much Skrzynecki does not belong at St. Patricks College or in that case with any other student who attends St. Patricks College. Obviously, this situation has forced Skrzynecki to adapt to his surroundings of the College and learn to accept himself to feel the sense of belonging that isn’t really expressed within the text. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ is a film set in the early 1990’s and addresses the problems that Charlie, the main character, faces while attending high school after his best friend from middle school had committed suicide only months before hand. For anybody, being a semi-depressed teenager is a difficult situation to be in; Charlie faces this during the entire film all the way up to the very last moments. At the beginning of the film while we hear Charlie’s voice over of him writing his first letter to his “friend” he talks of alienation from his ex-middle school friends such as Susan.
Charlie writes “I thought maybe my old friend Susan would want to have lunch with me” but because of Charlie’s extremely difficult situation that he is dealing with Susan “doesn’t like to say hi” to Charlie anymore. The use of voice over in this scene creates a connection between the audience and Charlie and provides sufficient evidence of how alienated Charlie is among his peers. Charlie even admits “If my English teacher is the only friend I make today, that would be sort of depressing. ” This emphasises how alienated Charlie is and how much he doesn’t fit in.
Due to this being a difficult circumstance for Charlie he has learnt to belong with himself even though he feels he does not belong with anyone else. In ‘The Passage’, Amy faces her situation head on which in Chapter 23 reveals that, in a way, Amy has been forced to see belonging as an unimportant aspect of her life. This has pushed Amy to accept herself and disregard the need for others. We learn this when Amy is thinking to herself when she thinks “Are we the all? For I have seen no one, no man or woman, in all the years and years. Is there no I but I? During this moment Amy is feeling a negative connection with the Virals, the vampires, she concludes her thoughts where Cronin writes “Go now, she thought, and closed her eyes; and when she opened them again she found she was alone. ” Cronin pieces together Chapter 23 with finesse and understanding of Amy. He was able to show us two things: the first is that Amy did not want to belong with anyone as she feared for their safety and the second was that even though we must be accepted by others to belong, we are able to belong if we are to accept ourselves if we are involved with a difficult situation.
For Skrzynecki in ‘St. Patricks College’ he also finds belonging an unimportant aspect of his life while he attends the College. This might not be as bad as Amy’s situation but to Skrzynecki it is still daunting. Skrzynecki “… stuck pine needles Into the motto On my breast. ” This shows the lack of caring for the motto and in turn the College. As Skrzynecki doesn’t really care for the College belonging obviously does not matter as much as Charlie from ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ wants to belong.
For Skrzynecki saying, “The Lord’s Prayer In Latin, all in one breath” was a feat clearly showing his disregard for the significance of The Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is clearly connected to the College for religious reasons and because Skrzynecki misses the significance of the prayer it proves that Skrzynecki didn’t want to necessarily belong. Due to Skrzynecki being alone and feeling excluded from the college he has had to rely on his own self-acceptance to feel his own sense of belonging. ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ is a film where the main theme is belonging.
Charlie reflects just that and begins to accept the fact that he is a “wallflower” and feels a sense of belonging with himself. Aside from this, Charlie wants to feel included, he wants to belong and eventually he feels that with Sam and Patrick. At Charlie’s first party Patrick makes a toast to Charlie of which Charlie questions with “what did I do? ” where Patrick responds “you didn’t do anything, we just wanted to toast our new friend” this conveys a sense of belonging among the audience as well as Charlie and the other characters. This is different from Amy in ‘The Passage’ and Skrzynecki in ‘St.
Patricks College’ because they do not want to belong or don’t feel the need to whereas Charlie wants to belong and wants to fit in. Accompanying this is the use of camera angles. When the camera is facing Charlie it is in a high angle position showing Charlies vulnerability and when it points at Patrick it’s a low angle position demonstrating the importance of Patrick. This is a clear representation of how one would feel a sense of belonging when they are accepted by others as well as how one would feel a sense of belonging when they accept themselves.
To feel as if you belong, you must accept yourself and be accepted by others but when dealing with difficult situations you can rely on self-acceptance to feel as if you belong. This is without a doubt clearly represented in ‘The Passage’, ‘St. Patricks College’ and ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’. These three very similar texts all show how a sense of belonging can be determined by self-acceptance and acceptance by a group. However, when difficult situations are experienced, an individual may gain a sense of belonging through self-acceptance alone.
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