Dickinson And Belonging Essay

1295 words - 6 pages

"To what extent is a persons sense of belonging shaped by both their own decisions and the perceptions of others"By instinctive nature, people have a deep desire to belong and to be connected with others whilst simultaneously not losing their own individual sense of self. Our sense of belonging is largely shaped by our personal, social and cultural ideals, as well as the judgments of others. Whhen these two clash, many experience a sense of exclusion. These ideas can be seen through a study of Emily Dickinson's Poems "This is My Letter To the World" and "I Died for Beauty" as well as Katharine Stocketts' novel The Help. These texts explore the importance of faith and death in belonging. ...view middle of the document...

Similar ideas this can be seen in Katherine Stocketts' The Help. In Stockett's novel, belonging is explored in a powerful way. In essence, individuals are shown to need to belong to some type of social unity. Through multiple characters, Stockett explores the impact of decisions to defy social norms.. The Help shows the inner workings of a segregated society against the backdrop of the growing US Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Skeeter, a white woman, daughter to a wealthy respected family, comes together with Aibileen and Minny, two black maids, to write their stories of the unfair practices that make the lives of the town's black members so difficult. Skeeter branches out to write about the " experiences of black housemaids, and in so doing, she breaks the status quo. As a result, she is rejected from her society. Hilly's comment: 'You have betrayed your own kind Skeeter' captures the way in which the town perceived Skeeters decision. This use of emotive language emphasizes the rigid racial divisions within the society and strong pressures to maintain them.Like Skeeter, Celia Foote's experience of belonging is also shaped by her decisions to go against social norms. Unlike the other women in Jackson, Celia wasn't born into high society. She's from Sugar Ditch, Mississippi, and was born and raised poor. When she marries rich, her views on social status and class find her to be an outcast in Jackson. Stockett is able to vividly capture how Celia experiences a sense of not belonging through the use of dialogue such as when Celia sates that " {She} couldn't get two people round for dinner if she tried". Through these two characters Stockett, like Dickinson, eloquently shows how the decision made by individuals and how those around them perceive them shape our experience of belonging.While this remains true, Dickinson does explore area situation where decisions and perceptions do not affect one's ability to belong, and that is in death. Through "I Died For Beauty" Dickinson explores the concept that since death is a natural consequence of being human, personal and social perceptions are made insignificant and in that all have the ability to belong. Dickinson uses intertextual reference to John Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn who glorifies and unites ideals of truth and beauty, to communicate her questions about life and leading one dedicated to ideals through lines such as "He questioned softly why I failed, "For beauty," I replied." Dickinson uses inclusive pronouns in the later half of the poem to further communicate the ability of death to unite. This can be seen in the phrases "We brethren are," "as kinsmen," suggesting that...

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