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Simple Gitf

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Simbaaa
Words 677
Pages 3
Standard English Assessment Task

“Composers create texts that deal with the way people come to feel a sense of belonging when they make connections with places or other people.”

Belonging is a complex concept that is shaped by our interactions and experiences with people, groups and communities. It is evident that we can develop a strong need and desire to belong and our ability to achieve this is shaped by our behaviours attitudes and actions.
This notion is evident in the novel, The Simple Gift composed by Steven Herrick. Where Herrick demonstrates many concepts of belonging, one being the need to belong to a group or a community shapes our behaviour, attitudes and actions. Herrick conveys this through the perspectives of Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin.
In Steven Herrick’s novel ‘A Simple Gift’, he uses various techniques to portray belonging or the lack of belonging. We accompany Billy as he meets great role models which serve to inspire him thoughout the novel. Ernie's train whistle symbolises the beginning of Billy's new life contrasted favourably by Ernie’s accepting and helpful attitude. Ernie give Billy his first taste of hope in mankind, whilst allowing Billy to feel acceptance. His next positive role model is Irene, Bendarat’s Librarian, who welcomes him and encourages him to borrow books and broaden his mind, Irene accepts Billy immediately a helps him at stages of the story.
A great technique used in the novel is Multiple Narrators, as the characters of Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin who because of their sense of alienation, are pushed towards one another by fate, to fulfil their need to belong. The mutual yearning they share is revealed by the use of a split narrative writing, in which each character’s thoughts and feelings are uncovered. Furthermore allowing us to see several situations through more than one point of view also showing relationships between each character clearly. Overall, it tells us that everyone feels the desire to belong, no matter what their circumstances are in life.
Another technique Steven Herrick uses is Symbolic Imagery such as gifts and birds. The ring Billy gives to Caitlin. Gifts represent compassion and reveals friendships between people. Friendship is a form of belonging, as they belong to each other. The symbolic imagery of birds represents freedom, and a new life. They’re used when Billy, Caitlin and Old Bill begin their new lives, as they sit on the veranda while birds sing songs in the trees. Their lives that are slowly developing back into society. Therefore, we’re shown of how, together, they’re able to belong to bigger things.

Metaphors is the third technique used throughout the free verse novel, it tells us of how they belong through the subtle use of metaphoric language, such as in the verse ‘Making Love’, where it compares lovemaking to falling into the crystal blue of Benderat River. It tells of how Billy and Caitlin are submerged in love with each other. It also tells of how it makes Billy feel clean and refreshed of which shows that belonging reaches beyond boundaries. The role of a physical home in the concept of belong has very strong meaning such as in this metaphor “I knew that Old Bill was giving me more than these keys I held holding someone’s past in my dirty hand” tell us how Billy has come to accept and feel great compassion for Old Bill.

Belonging is a very subjective concept and relies heavily upon personal experience and values. When people feel as though they belong they feel secure and safe from being misunderstood by people, places and communities. Herrick’s “The Simple Gift” effectively portrays different aspects in which allow individuals to feel self-comfort. Relationships, interactions and places all develop ones feeling of security, enhancing their sense of belonging. However, belonging can be limited through feelings of insecurity due to a lack of interactions with others and places. Steven Herrick created a text that deal with the way people come to feel a sense of belonging when they make connections with places or other people.

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