How have your set text and two chosen texts represented different perceptions of belonging or not belonging?
Obtaining a sense of belonging is an intrinsic desire inextricably linked to our human nature. However, the inherent yearning to identify with a society, personality or context; can ironically lead to the compromising of one’s values that in turn hinges our sense of belonging. Such paradoxical interplay between a sense of connection and a loss of self is evident in Emily Dickinson’s poems I Died for Beauty; I had been Hungry all these Years and This is my Letter to the World, David Grossman’s reflective essay Writing in the Dark and Jason Reitman’s film Up in the Air. All three composers highlight the impracticality of humanity’s
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In his philosophical essay, Grossman establishes his disconnection from his world filled with political turmoil lacking his values of “truth and justice” much like Dickinson’s concerns for “truth and beauty”. His writing serves as the only consolidation from the metaphorical “shrinking of his soul’s surface area” emphasized through his allusion to Kafka’s “A little fable” with “alas the world is growing smaller everyday”. In doing so, Grossman emphasizes his connection not with his ‘sweet countrymen’ who he judges tenderly’ but rather, the minority of writers such as Dickinson who have the “freedom to articulate tragedy’s in my own words”. In this sense Grossman establishes his connection with the minority. However by “giving his most private and intimate names to an external world” he exposes his works and thoughts, symbolically furthering his isolation. In his attempts to associate with his “distant allies who do not know [him]” to “tikkun”- repair the world, and retain his sense of belonging, he simultaneously furthers his marginalization by establishing his connection as an outsider, like Dickinson, seen through his personal anecdotes of “homeless children and relationships between parents and children”. However, he concludes with the justification “We write… and the world does not grow smaller” hence ending his extended metaphor with a relationship