Belonging Essay – ‘As you like it’ / ‘I am Sam’
The concept of belonging is explored in texts such as Shakespeare’s play ‘As you like it’ and Jessie Nelson’s film ‘I am Sam’ through literary and filmic techniques which engage and enrich the audiences understanding of the concept. These texts explore notions of belonging to place, family and communities, and the barriers and implications of these. This is done through the employment of techniques to represent ideas and engage the audience in order to create a new, or challenge perceptions of belonging .
In ‘As you like it’ Shakespeare contrasts the settings of various characters in order to challenge perceptions of belonging and manipulate ...view middle of the document...
Thus, in order to belong to place, one must be able to truly connect with it and find a sense of identity there, both emotionally and physically.
Shakespeare also explores the notion of transgressing boundaries to enjoy a greater sense of belonging . This is done through Rosalind, who disguises herself as the male Ganymede in order to enjoy liberties that were unavailable to her as a woman. This also enables Shakespeare to explore the implications of finding of finding a sense of belonging through a false identity. The use of repeated questioning through Rosalind whilst she is disguised as a man, such as ‘...though i am caparisoned like a man, i have doublet and hose in my disposition?’ and ‘doth he know that i am in this forest and in a man’s apparel?’ shows her insecurities with this false identity. It also shows her insecurities with this false identity and doubt and anxiousness that has arose from not being able to form meaningful and honest connections with those around her. This allows Shakespeare to explore the concept of belonging and how hiding behind a false identity is an implication to ones sense of belonging and identity, despite the other benefits it may have. Shakespeare is portraying that it may give one things that were previously unavailable to them, such as the freedom of movement achieved by Rosalind through Ganymede, but they will never truly be able to belong.
The readers ideal perceptions of family is challenged in ‘As you like it’ through the exploration of the relationship between brothers Orlando and Oliver, which also demonstrates that filial relationships are essential for a sense of belonging and identity. Conflict and anger is constant between the brothers, from the opening scene, and allows Shakespeare to explore the need for one to have a family network. The ideals of family are challenged through this conflict, through the hatred expressed between them in dialogue such as ‘i never loved my brother in my life’ and ‘malice of a diverted blood and a bloody brother’. This tension is used by Shakespeare to show that one cannot belong without a sense of familial relations. Orlando is able to find this connection with loyal servant Adam, who demonstrates this by saying ‘we’ll go along together’. This relationship is used by Shakespeare to explore and challenge the notion of family and its relationship to belonging. It shows that one needs an identity with family in order to have a strong sense of belonging.
The importance of identity with family is also explored in the film ‘I am Sam’ through the experience of the protagonist when his only family is removed. The use of film devices allows the audience to experience the pain and sadness associated with such an event, and thus shaping their understanding of belonging to family. Contrasting to ‘As you like it’, the family here is shown to be mutually loving and...