The Simple Gift and the Concept of Belonging

May 7, 2018 General Studies

Simple Gift Relationships and places interconnect to provide an individual with a strong sense of belonging * Relationships and the concept of Belonging Old Bill and Billy * Genuine relationships anchor individuals in identity, worth and connection * Relationships enrich an individual’s sense of belonging * Billy and old Bill’s relationship helps bring about a positive change in both of them * Their bond brings positive change to the grief-stricken old Bill and provides Billy with a chance for a fresh start and a future in Bendarat.

Old Bill provides Billy with advice, guidance and a home. * Billy helps old Bill limit his drinking and smoking addictions and provides him with breakfast in the mornings * Billy said to not walk past the pub, old Bill finds himself walking past Jessies old school the next day instead of going past the pub * “Hands/shaking/as I walked back to town,/careful not to go past a pub” * Herrick uses enjambment to emphasises how difficult this change is for Old Bill and his desire to keep moving forward rather than continuing to be overwhelmed by his grief Places and the concept of belonging * Throughout the free verse poems of the Simple Gift, there are a series of places that either enrich or destroy an individual’s sense of belonging Longlands Road * Longlands Road does not inspire Billy’s sense of belonging.

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Billy lived with his alcoholic and abusive father in Longlands road His father created an environment that did not support the feeling of belonging by giving Billy “hard backhanders” * Billy’s action of throwing rocks upon the roofs of the houses in longlands Road shows the strong negative attitude he has towards his street and all that it represents * “I throw one rock on the roof/of each deadbeat no hoper/ *hithole downtrodden house in Longlands road, Nowheresville” * Herrick uses descriptive language to emphasis the feeling of alienation that such a place arouses for Billy

Carriage 1864 * Billy sets up home in an abandoned freight train carriage, it becomes an important place of belonging and security for Billy * As this carriage is shared with Billy’s friends Old Bill and Caitlin, it creates a positive emotion towards the carriage. * Without the company of Old Bill the carriage would have been very dull and lonely * “It was like a little cave, a warm, safe little cave….

Billy’s cave”, Herrick uses this simile to describe the carriage. * Through the relationship with Old Bill, Billy quickly feels a sense of place and comfort inside it by labelling it “my motel Bendarat”. * Billy further demonstrates his sense of belonging to the carriage when he gives Caitlin a “business card” with the carriage as his address. This is a symbolic gesture, which shows Caitlin that he feels this is home for now. 2. Pursuit of Happiness


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