ENGLISH ORAL: BELONGING
Intro: To belong or not to belong, that is the question. Belonging is unavoidable in our lives, whether it is the feeling of connection or disconnection to people, places, groups, communities and the larger world. The multifaceted concept of belonging is shaped by personal experience as it can be interpreted in different ways by individuals. Self-acceptance is the start of belonging as it is difficult to establish a sense of inclusion in a world where our perception hinders the recognition of our connections to others around us. This is demonstrated in ‘Heart of Darkness’, a novella that is based on Joseph Conrad’s experience and self- discovery in the Congo during the 1890s, a time where colonialism was at its peak. The composer shapes our perception of belonging to a great extent through presenting the misuse of control as a catalyst that restricts societal and cultural belonging as it culminates societal barriers such as cultural dominance and imperialism that conflict with the notion of self-belonging and belonging to humanity. 1: Human nature and culture can develop a sense of not belonging. Conrad explores the element of not belonging to a great extent through the presence of cultural barriers dictated by the European exploitation of the natives. Contextually, Africa was seen to be the ‘antithesis to Europe’, hence the natives were seen to be ‘less civilised’ and inferior, hence were unable to express their own personal opinions due to their oppression in the hierarchical structure, hindering societal and cultural belonging. Throughout the novella, they are referred to as ‘negros, savages and rudimentary souls’ who work for the Europeans, yet get nothing in return except mistreatment. The list of ruthless descriptions creates a detached tone that conjures a sense of isolation. The horrific sensory imagery of the natives with ‘iron collars around their neck tied together with a chain’ symbolically represents the subjugation...
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