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Relationships are an essential factor that may either enrich, or limit ones sense of belonging. This essay will give reference to ‘Swallow the Air’ and ‘Goldie’. ‘Swallow the Air’ by Tara June Winch is a novel featuring the protagonist, May and her quest to find belonging.
Throughout the series of interconnected stories, May feels as though she belongs with many people, her mother June included. With June ending her life within the first chapter, there are many metaphors signifying June. “Jacaranda petals and blood, softened and returned. ” The jacaranda tree is signifying June’s kindred spirit. The relationship that May has with June, is strong, which is why within the book, there are many metaphors reminding May of her mother.
The relationship with May and June enriches May’s sense of belonging, however the death limits it.
Goldie is a song by Australian singer/ songwriter Paris Wells. Throughout the song, it features Goldie, and her journey through isolation and sexual trafficking. Unlike ‘Swallow the Air’, Goldie feels isolated within a violent surrounding. “Her relatives ignore her relatively all the time, said she bumped in chairs and fell down stair to keep her into line. ” As Wells sings this verse, her tone progresses from mellow to angry.
This gives an emphasis on how violent and isolated Goldie feels with her relatives. This relationship between Goldie and her relatives did not enrich her sense of belonging, but limited it.
May’s relationship with Billy always made her feel as though she belonged. However, when May discovered her drug addled brother living in a drug home, she felt as though she did not belong with him. “He was vacant. He had eyes. He did not wake. ” This tells the audience that although Billy was there, May felt as though she had lost her brother due to his drug addiction, thus limiting her sense of belonging with him. While Goldie’s relationship with the ‘backhand’ reveals a lonely road to the sexual trafficking she must overcome to survive.
Goldie I’m gonna’ save you I’m gonna’ help you rise, but first I’m gonna’ feed you put some lovin’ on those thighs. ” The ‘backhand’ makes out as if he is trying to save Goldie, however is destroying her adolescent years and her chance to belong. The relationship between the ‘backhand’ and Goldie destroys her youth, and limits her sense of belonging. Likewise, May does not feel as though she belongs with Aunty. The suburb ‘Paradise Parade’, where both June and Aunty are situated. ‘Paradise Parade’ is a use of irony.
For May, Paradise Parade is associated with pain and suffering, rather than a paradise. This is an effective use of irony within ‘Swallow the Air’, to emphasize to the reader the pain that May felt, with her Aunt. Within ‘Goldie’, the protagonist looses herself and her ambitions. The lonely road to a successful, powerful yet regretful role of a now middle aged woman. The isolation leads Goldie lost within herself and with others. “Blindfolded men with blinded dream. ” This is a metaphor that changes the violence of the tone within Wells voice to a dim tone, almost a sad and regretful tone.
The significance of this quote is the loss of herself, comparing Goldie to somebody with no dreams, or somebody whose dreams are now out of reach. The loss of feeling that she belongs with herself is an indication of just how little she belongs with others. However, May also finds belonging with Joyce. Joyce is an older aboriginal woman who takes in May. “It was then I felt aboriginal, I felt as though I belonged. ” Joyce was a character who re-introduced May to the aboriginal community, in which she believed as though she belonged.
The relationship between Joyce and May, not only influenced May’s sense of belonging with her culture, but made her feel as though she belonged within her own culture. Unlike May, Goldie found belonging with material possessions although she was a powerful woman, her isolated left her a mixture of angry and sad. “New vintage leather family, latex friendly little friends, she’d scream at them for hours. ” This quote shows the audience that Goldie had disregarded any family or friends which left her alone with materialistic possessions.
May, on the other hand ended the novel by heading back to Paradise Parade. Paradise Parade is where May ultimately acknowledges her sense of belonging. “I couldn’t run from the pain and I couldn’t run from my family either. ” With the reunion of May, Billy and Aunty, May hadn’t felt more a more powerful sense of belonging outside her family. In conclusion, relationships are a powerful key to belonging. With May and Goldie’s experiences, being so different to one another, it gave an insight to the influences that relationships have to belonging.
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