The concept of belonging is centered around notions of identity, relationships, acceptance, and understanding. Belonging can be interpreted through many different people in many different ways. There are many meanings, which are always changing for each individual as some things or people do belong and obviously some things do not. However, most people are accepted into a group such as friends, family, school or sport.
Some people feel accepted into a relationship that they feel they are acquired to, but on the other hand some people want to be them selves and do their own thing which can make them feel alienated like in the case of the movies “Strictly Ballroom” directed by Baz Lhurmann where Scott Hastings is alienated and doesn’t feel he has a sense of identity as he has barriers stopping him to have his own identity and be different and “Into the Wild” directed by Sean Penn where the concept of belonging is explored throughout as Christopher McCandless doesn’t feel the sense of security with his family. He has a lack of positive connections within his family shown by parents’ arguments and the threat of divorce. Belonging is clearly shown within the two movies “Strictly Ballroom” and “Into the Wild” but the texts both show a different aspect of belonging. In Strictly Ballroom, to belong in the world of ballroom dancing and individual must compromise his own self-expression or identity.
Those who hold the power in the ballroom dancing world value the traditions held for many years and alienate anyone rebelling to the code of conduct they should follow. In this case Scott Hastings a champion dancer, wants to be accepted into the ballroom world by changing the same routine he has been taught to dance. However, Scott’s rebellions draws attention, which leaves him with no partner, feeling alienated and he has lost his relationship and connection with ballroom dancing academy and Kendall’s dance Studio. Fran who is presented as plain, unattractive and has little experience whoshows a clear identity of her Spanish family approaches Scott to dance together as she thinks she has what it takes to make it to an open level but Scott replies with “Look, a beginner has no right to approach an Open Amateur” as if she doesn’t even belong in the same room or in the ballroom dancing world. This makes Fran already feel not accepted and embarrassed. This shows that Scott has not yet chosen his path of own identity. “Into the Wild” has a change in the way of belonging unlike “Strictly Ballroom” where Scott wants to belong in ballroom dancing by changing the steps that have come before him in tradition.
Chris is choosing not to belong as he feels a deep disconnection within his family, he feels like his identity is false and destroyed when he discovers that his parents marriage is based on an affair. His ideology is that money and relationships are not essential for happiness. Chris changes his name to Alexander Supertramp and cuts up credit cards and ID, giving away his money to live in the wilderness challenges the idea of living the identity assigned to him by society. He try’s to create a new identity. Chris feels he is accepted to the nature and beauty of the wilderness as he feels a sense of freedom.
In the end Chris comes to forgive his family and recognise its real significance as he slowly dies. Hence his final quote “Happiness is only real when shared”. Happiness is something everyone deserves and sharing it is one of the most pleasurable and kind things a person can do. Chris is soon to realize this as he is dying seeing flashbacks of his family and past, as he realizes the significance they had upon him. He soon dies with a vision of the reunion of his family – he feels forgiveness and acceptance. However, Chris shows us all that belonging is dynamic, changing and always ongoing.
‘Strictly Ballroom’ and ‘Into the Wild’ both creatively explore senses of belonging and not belonging and how a sense of identity can change for the better or worse. Conclusively through these movies we see the major aspects of acceptance and understanding. We have to ask ourselves why is it that to fit in we have to conform into society like Fran and her family do in ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and Alex in ‘Into the Wild’. I believe we all want to belong as it holds an underlying meaning for us, we all can relate to it some minority and there for we make that simple connection. There for when we are connected we feel as though we belong. Thankyou.