Belonging is an essential part of human life that is not always just a connection to a place; it is a feeling of being at home within yourself and having the patience to discover who you are. Being at home within yourself is a process that is not instantaneous and this is evident in the film Ten Canoes and the poem ‘Digging’. Through characters and text specific techniques, the film and poem portray processes of how developing an understanding of group dynamics and relationships allows one to gain a sense of personal belonging, deeper than merely a connection to a place. Understanding the group dynamics and laws relating to specific cultures allows one to avoid alienation and feel comfortable as an individual. The narrative voice of
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The poem ‘Digging’ also depicts how an understanding of what is morally accepted within a culture enhances how an individual belongs within themselves. The Irish poem arrests the attention of the reader with a smile, “the squat pen rests; as snug as a gun”, hinting at the fraught context of poem, written during a time of war. The persona then seems to escape the brutal reality of life at this time by going back diachronically in time, a technique similar to that of the ancestral story within a story, depicted in Ten Canoes. He goes back to a memory of watching his father digging, through the proud memory of the hard working men of his family, “could cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner’s bog” inspires within him a new determination. “I’ve no spade to follow men like them”, however, “the squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it”. The pen is no longer associated with a snug gun and its unlawful violence, but the concept that ideas win wars and he will dig for ideas. He can still belong to this family of hardworking diggers now he has an understanding of how he can work hard with the other tool available to him, the lawful one, and through this understanding a new determination and sense of home within oneself is gained.
Through relationships of kinship and ancestors one can achieve a sense of