2013 Place and Belonging
1. Where do we see the ideas in the context in your section of the text?
- key events
- who belongs and who doesn’t?
Section B Place and Belonging sample body paragraphs Courtesy of Ms. Haake.
Prompt: “A sense of place and belonging requires more than ownership of land.”
Prompt: “Our sense of place is determined by our understanding of the landscape.”
Prompt: “You do need to live in a place in order to belong to this landcsape.”
Write a speech or feature article that draws on ideas on one of the above prompts-
- Contention – On a superficial level one may assume that ownership implies a sense of place and belonging, yet the history of Australia suggests that non-indigenous Australians have a different concept of ownership over land, and a relationship which newer Australians still struggle to understand.
- Questions for each Keyword
- Tools/ Examples for each Question
- Sort Tools/ Examples to avoid repetition
- Decide on the order – 1st, 2nd, 3rd paragraph
Individual and societies’ connecting to their environment and identities are one of the most vital foundation towards engendering growth, allowing one to create an emotional connection to their landscape. Feeling a sense of belonging enables one to express themselves in a landscape with a sense of purpose enabling aspirations to be met. When environments allow one to feel welcomed and comfortable, it helps individuals and groups to prosper in their imagining landscape that they have formed and connected both physically and emotionally to. Albert the Aboriginal ‘black tracker’ in Perkins’ film ‘One Night the Moon’ demonstrates a powerful and spiritual connection with the landscape in which he dwells, allowing his sense of identity to thrive. The lyrics of the song ‘This Land is My Land’ demonstrates Albert’s distinct correlation to the landscape as he says ‘this land is my rock, water, animal and tree’, sustaining his identity. Perkins’ musical choice to make Albert sing in a lower register represents Albert’s deep grounding that is further emphasised by the ancient sounds of the didgeridoo, allowing him to read the land rather than merely looking at it, permitting him to be comfortable in the place in which he inhabits. Furthermore, Albert quitting the police force is symbolic of his self-assurance, as he knows his true identity in his environment and will not settle for anything less than what he desires.
However such scenery does not seem to fit for all characters. Some may feel at unease if they are disconnected their landscape, resulting to suffering and displacement in particular dwellings. These enduring motives inflame the inhibited growth of an individual, leading to stunted growth, anguish and death. As seen in ‘One Night the Moon,’ the audience gains a sense of Jim Ryan’s lack of identity in the opening scenes of the film when he is presented drunk, distressed a feeling displaced in his environment. Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody’s composition choices in the song ‘This land is Mine,’ stresses Ryan’s high register, underscored by frenzied Celtic strings which in this context emphasises both his worried insistence and desperation that he must own the land and be in charge of it, trying to create his own place in an environment that is not his. In addition, the cinematographic technique of the camera evolving around Ryan seems to show the faults in the settlers view of the land as he ‘signed on the dotted line’ through the process of optical effects post production which drained the images in pink tone, thus giving the landscape a rugged and threatening presence. Perkins attempts to convey a loss of foundation on the part of Ryan’s character based on his absence of identity with the land ‘working hard just to make it pay’ when juxtaposed with Albert’s emotional insight of the land ‘from generations passed to infinity,’ allowing him to connect favourably to the creation of the place in which he lives.
Providing a sense of cohesion and strength, a single person and community are able to develop respect and trust towards each other if they have similar outlooks on the land of which they inherit. This broader perception of each other offers a feel of togetherness and comfort, hence allowing for clear communication and mutual respect to develop offering a sense of grounding for all. Clear interpretation and interaction of the land is not possible unless humans collectively share the same vision and understanding of a particular locale. Albert’s ability to collaborate with the land and work on mutual terms with it rather than impose on it, and, his interaction with white people is of significant importance. The mother takes a powerful step within the settler community as she interacts with Albert to locate her lost daughter Emily. The duet which the mother sings with Albert ‘…business…you and me’ represents the functional partnership of the mother and Albert uniting together to locate Emily. Her acknowledgement of Albert’s innate superior understanding of the land, shows how when individuals have both minds set on similar outlooks, they can both work together to achieve a common goal; that is to retrieve Emily.
On the contrary, feelings of animosity amongst collective people and individuality can lead to differences between homes, due to how each create and react to a landscape. When a connection with our physical environment it lost, so is an emotional one, creating distinctions between how some perceive environments. Jim Ryan’s relationship with his wife slowly severs, as her perseverance in collaborating Jim with Albert ‘Please let him help…I think he knows something’ was increasingly refused as Jim insisted ‘I swear to you, I’m going to find her’. Here Ryan acknowledges but refuses to accept Albert’s distinct correlation to the land as it is an uncomfortable admittance of prior ownership. Thus, Ryan’s eventual suicide is symbolic of his ‘white fella’ stoicism that is unable to collaborate with Albert without imposing his ideals on the environment.
Time spent in a single environment often leaves an indelible mark on the frame of mind of both the collective and individual. Built over many years, experiencing historical traditions of both the past and present enables a group to feel comfort in their connection to the landscape, allowing them to form a creation of a place from past customs and traditions. Moreover, carrying the rituals associated with these strong traditions allows for a sense of validity, purpose and strength to develop across between people and communities. Albert who characterises this deep connection, displays his cultural practice through flowing the moonlight to find Emily. Here, his ability to relate and interpret the land shows the historical traditions that Aboriginal Dreamtime stories that have been passed down from generations. The stories are a portrayal of the Aboriginal understanding of the world and its creation, enacted in ceremonies and danced in form and sung in song chants, to bring the dreaming to bear of life today, giving them a sense of grounding in their landscape.
The Australian landscape has been a contested landscape in Australian cinema. There have been a hose of films like ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ and ‘Ten Canoes’ that have claimed back or re-imagined the outback from an Aboriginal perspective. Rachel Perkins’s film is in the same vein. The film, a collaboration between white and black musicians, writers and film makers act as a microcosm for what is needed in the process of reconciliation. Paul Kelly and Kell Carmody’s music, with its use of polyphonic and a mixture of sounds highlights the effectiveness reconciling harmonies which both acknowledge differences and herald in a new form of cultural and political landscape where understanding one’s outlook on land are key. Kevin Rudd’s ‘Sorry Speech’ as prime minister underscores this new bond of harmony ‘for the past, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations. We are sorry’ which typifies the mutual resolve and respect of being ‘truly equal partners’ within a future Australian landscape where one’s creation of a land is not imposed by another, but instead, joined together as one to acknowledge the differences.
Perkins illustrates to the audience that having a sense of place in a landscape is fundamental to our sense of contentment and security; which inextricably bound to form the fabric of one’s imaginative landscape. The impact landscapes have on knowledge is substantial, thus, in order to lead a fulfilling life and become a contented individual, it is essential that humans find the landscape that each can relate to and co-exist ithin a meaningful way.
‘Not all people feel they belong in the place where they live.’
An introduction by Mrs. May…
Although ‘place’ can be very tangible in a geographical sense, humans have an instinctive desire to form emotional attachments to the places in which they live. However, these attachments are not always positive. Whilst some people have valuable lifelong relationships with the same town, community or country, others have been displaced from their native homes through war, poverty, prejudice and institutionalisation. Rather than feeling a sense of belonging, these people can feel alienated, excluded and dispossessed of their rightful heritage.
One Night the Moon
Doc1 Leunig Cartoon
Place and Belonging Notes from class today
Place and Belonging
‘We are defined by where we live’
‘We need to adapt to new places in our quest to belong’
‘The quest for a place to belong is eternal’
‘The longing to belong changes you’
‘Who you are is determined by your environment’
Planning a Context essay
Context Focus Questions
The 2012 Context for Year 11 is ‘Place and Belonging’. The following questions relate directly to ‘The Secret River’ and the application of the Context to this text.
1. Consider the first part of the novel entitled ‘Strangers’. Thornhill describes himself as “nothing more than a flea on the side of some enormous quiet creature”. What perspective does this first part of the book offer on the importance of place – both the place where Thornhill has come from and the place where he has now been sent?
2. What is the significance of Thornhill’s initial encounter with the indigenous population and the mimicking of Thornhill’s instruction “Be off!”?
Part One – London
3. Describe the London of Thornhill’s childhood and youth. What view does Thornhill have of Swan Lane and Sal’s home and how does this add to his desperation when the Middleton home is lost?
Part Two – Sydney
4. How does Grenville present contrasting views of ownership and belonging between the indigenous population and the colonisers?
5. Describe Thornhill’s first encounter with the Hawkesbury River? How does he view the river?
6. Blackhill talks to Thornhill “Got my place up there a ways”. Describe the “piercing hunger in his guts” that Thornhill feels the first time he imagines owning Thornhill’s Point.
7. In what way are Sal’s dreams and Thornhill’s dreams the same?
8. What role do the children play in changing Sal and Thornhill’s perspective on place?
Part Three – A Clearing in the Forest
9. Explain Sal’s attachment “to the place she had come from”.
10. Thornhill keeps repeating to himself “My Place. Thornhill’s place.” What does he mean by his reflection “But the wind in the leaves up on the ridge was saying something else entirely.”
11. Describe Thornhill’s encounter with “them savages” at Thornhill’s Point.
12. Thornhill claims his place by making a clearing and planting crop. What marks the ‘ownership’ of the land by the indigenous population?
Part 4 – A Hundred Acres
13. Thornhill conceded “It took him some time to admit to himself that his hundred acres no longer felt quite his own.” What has led to this realisation?
14. Contrast Thornhills’ interactions with the indigenous population with Sal’s. What might account for this difference? Why does Dick’s playing with the native children disturb Thornhill so much?
15. Blackwood’s view of the indigenous population is “I find them quiet and peaceable folk.” What do we learn about Blackwood’s association with the indigenous people that explains this and how does Thornhill react to this knowledge?
16. For the Thornhill children, home is Thornhill’s Point. What does this suggest about the importance of place to each generation and how this might change?
17. Thornhill acknowledges “The blacks were farmers no less than the white men where.” How does he continue to justify his behaviour after this realisation?
Part 5 – Drawing the Line
18. The attack on the Webb property is the first in a string of “outrages and depredations that March of 1814.” What response does it prompt from the other settlers and why?
19. For Thornhill, abandoning Thornhill’s Point “would feel like giving up a child”. Why is his attachment to this place so strong?
Part 6 – The Secret River
20. What does the incident at Darkey Creek represent for Thornhill?
21. Sal visits the camp and says to Thornhill “They was here like you and me was in London. Just the exact same way.” What view of place is Sal articulating?
22. At what point in the story is the final series of events put in motion? Is it the attack on the Webbs, Darkey Creek, Saggitty’s death, or much earlier?
23. Thornhill feels he is being forced to choose “between his wife and his place” and that “Their lives… had somehow brought them to this: waiting for the tide to turn, so they could go and do what only the worst of men would do.” What choice is Thornhill actually being presented with and to what extent is he responsible for the crossroads at which he finds himself?
24. Thornhill focusses on Sagitty rather than the blue water of the Lagoon at Blackwood’s. Why?
25. How does Thornhill end each day? What is he waiting/ watching for?