Transitioning between worlds can be difficult as we are challenged by a changing understanding of who we are and where we belong. Discuss this quote with reference to two prescribed poems and at least ONE related text of your own choosing Individuals transitioning between worlds may experience difficulties as they are challenged by a developing understanding of who they are and where they belong. The ability to transition is dependent on the individual’s openness to new experiences offered by the new world, and through this openness a person’s identity, world view and sense of belonging, evolves.
Certainly, if individuals are reluctant to change because they want to preserve the old world, their developing sense of self and belonging may be hindered. This is examined in the poems, “The One Who Goes Away” by Sujata Bhatt and “The Survivor” by Tadeusz Rozewicz. In addition, the film “Pleasantville,” directed by Gary Ross, similarly explores the idea that movement to the ‘new world’ creates a disconnection for the persona/character from their transition, as they reflect on how experiences have shaped their identity and view of the world.
As individuals transition between worlds they are presented with obstacles and challenges that may lead to a developing sense of self and belonging. These challenges can result from having to start again in a new country that is not one’s homeland, creating a disconnection between the old and new world. This is revealed in Bhatt’s poem, “The One Who Goes Away” where the persona struggles with holding onto her culture as she develops a sense of belonging in new worlds. The persona represents this struggle as a result of her feeling a sense of isolation as she states, “Look at the in-between darkness.
The authorative tone of the repeated imperative of “Look” conveys the poet’s self-command to express the relationship between change and constancy. This is reinforced with the compound adjective of “in-between,” communicating the halfway point at which the poet finds herself, trapped between one world and the other, highlighting her shifting understanding of who she is and where she belongs. The poet’s use of high modality of “darkness” relates to the disconnection of the old and new world as she feels emptiness and uncertainty of where she is and therefore lacks sense of belonging.
These features act as potent representatives of the difficulties the poet experiences when transitioning between her old and new world. Despite the persona’s challenges to find a place of belonging in the physical world, her understanding is developed of who she is and where she belongs through her connection to culture and her motherland. The challenge between herself and her sense of not belonging to the physical world while feeling connected to her old world through culture, is evident through the paradox, “with my home intact, but always changing.
Primarily, the persona tries to carry her culture and heritage with her as she realises that her native culture plays the central role in shaping her identity. Bhatt emphasises the perception of home being spiritual rather than physical, even though her physical landscape is constantly changing it is only through her inextricable spiritual connection to her culture, her home will “always” remain the same, and “intact. ” This idea is further explored in Pleasantville through Ross’ growing sense of identity as Betty transitions to a new world.
Through this scene, Betty is unable to face her husband due to her changing appearance and enlightened state. The over the shoulder shot of Betty from Bud’s perspective emphasises that some people are afraid to change due to the inability to adapt to new experiences. However, acknowledging that these transitions must happen, presents the individual with obstacles and challenges that ultimately lead to a developing sense of self and belonging. Eventually, Betty being exposed to new knowledge and ways of thinking has led to her personal enlightenment and therefore understands where she belongs.
This is evident, through the use of dialogue and characterisation as she resists, “No… I don’t want it to go away,” showing that she has accepted her transition into the new world and grateful for her new identity. Venturing into new worlds has enabled her to achieve personal enlightenment. Therefore, transitioning between worlds can be difficult as one may encounter obstacles and challenges that can eventually lead an individual to a greater understanding a sense of self and belonging.
The demands of entering a new world can challenge an individual’s understanding of who they are and where they belong. This is shown in, “The Survivor,” where the persona seeks assistance in moving past his experiences due to the forceful demand of transitioning between worlds. In “The Survivor,” Roseweisz uses irony to portray the way in which the persona’s experiences of war have shaped his identity and sense of belonging. The use of irony in the listing of antonyms as “empty synonyms: man and beast, love and hate, light and dark,” conveys that they are no longer binary opposites but meshed together.
The persona’s lack of meaning due to his demand of entering a new world illustrates his inability to differentiate between right and wrong in the new, post war society. Bestial imagery in “man and beast,” emphasises the persona’s perspective on the war, which has dehumanised men and stripped away their humanity and shows the difficulty he experiences in trying to reach an understanding of self in the world, absent of meaning. Despite the catastrophic nature of his past experience, however, the personas identity and sense of belonging is shaped by a desire to restore goodness to society.
His plea for a “teacher and master… may he restore my sight, hearing and speech… may he separate darkness from light” conveys the impetus he feels towards redressing the imbalance in society and finding meaning. The use of repetition and listing highlights the persona’s compulsion towards creating meaning in a society rendered meaningless by the past experiences. As a result, the personas demand of entering a new world challenges his understanding of self; however, through the assistance of a “teacher and master” he is able to develop his sense of identity and belonging.
Additionally in the film, “Pleasantville” Ross explores the challenges in entering a new world through the character of Mayor Big Bob and his beliefs of knowing what’s best for society and that is to counteract change via segregation and enforce conformity. However, his enlightenment is provoked to anger and forced to realise his unpleasantness. In the evident scene, ‘the trial’ through the use of tracking movement where it positions the Mayor’s head within the town’s logo of two hands shaking suggesting harmony and equality, creates a sense of irony as his actions are instead discriminatory and divisive.
Leading to his state of transitioning into a new world, repetition of “That’s enough… ” together with digetic sound of the banging gravel highlights that Mayor Big Bob is rapidly losing control which provokes him to change colour and therefore his forceful demand into an unknown world. His transition is challenged by a changing understanding of self which as a result, his personal enlightenment is discovered. Therefore, entering new worlds through a forceful demand may be difficult, but may eventually lead to an understanding of belonging to self and place.
The idea of transitioning into new worlds can be difficult as individuals are challenged by a changing understanding of self and a sense of belonging. “The One Who Goes Away,” “The Survivor” and “Pleasantville” all convey ideas about a developing understanding of who we are and where we belong, ultimately demonstrating the strong understanding of self that may be gained through overcoming obstacles and transitioning into new worlds.
January 9, 2018
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