An individuals interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging
Belonging can be represented through the relationships and connection between people, places or individuals where the human instinctive need to belong can be fulfilled. The different social paradigms that exist between every individual allow a different interpretation of belonging where the individuals interaction with others can bring negative consequences. This is evident in Dickinsons poems: I Had Been Hungry All the Years, A Narrow Fellow in the Grass and Terry Georges Hotel Rwanda where Dickinson futile efforts to interact with her environment result in the displacement of her emotions while in Hotel Rwanda the forced interaction between Paul Rusesabagina and his own greedy leaders result in the near death of his family. By analysing these interactions between the individual and the environment, one can recognize the central values of the composers as they interpret the consequences of belonging.
The consequences of struggling to belong are present in Dickinsons poem I Had Been Hungry all the Years where Dickinsons futile efforts to belong result in her emotions being affected negatively. Her interpretation of belonging is to keep and experience human affection and interaction. This is portrayed in a sexual manner in the first stanza I Had Been Hungry all the Years my noon had come to dine, I trembling. The metaphor symbolizes her powerful urges to experience belonging personally as we only associate hunger through a temporary moment in time and in this case it is only heightened through all the years. The word trembling highlights the inexperience that Dickinson has with belonging. Her interaction with belonging ironically resulted in the negative displacement of her emotions as it resulted in a situation where she did not know the ample bread as she has adapted to just the crumbs over the years with bread representing belonging. Dickinsons natural setting of loneliness is suddenly transformed into a hostile and alien environment portrayed by the metaphorical imagery of a berry that has been transplanted onto the road. This scenario of parallels with Dickinson real life experience of belonging as it came to negatively affect her drive to stay true to her art of poetry. Historically even Dickinson came to isolate herself from society to practice this art which is reflected in other poems. Hence it is evident that Dickinsons interaction with belonging has only limited her experience of belonging as she did not need to belong to a society as it was overcome by her dedication to her art on a personal level.
Dickinson makes a statement about the insecurities of belonging even after obtaining it in the poem A Narrow fellow in the Grass as she portrays the familiar part of nature into a sinister and unknown element. This is done through the personification of a snake where the use of a snake in other texts often symbolized the snake as a sly and deceptive creature of evil. This is created in the poem by the snakes movement in the grass that divides the comb giving a sinister feel to the snake. However Dickinson contrasts this stereotypical view of the snake by giving him human qualities such as likes and dislikes through the line he likes the boggy acre suggesting this creature has human emotions establishing a connection to the boy and the snake. This personification is further reinforced through the title A Narrow Fellow in the Grass where the metaphorical imagery of a narrow fellow gives a kinaesthetic view of a non-threatening petite figure. This sense of belonging however is contradicted by the obvious harmful nature of the snake and this is how Dickinson comments about the limitations of belonging where no matter how much we may interact and understand belonging we can never understand the true nature of it. This is created through a darker side of the narrow fellows movement of a quick whiplash that was gone, a movement which is associated with stealth and deception. The narrow fellow who was once thought to belong with Natures people with previous interactions is now a potentially harmful deceptive creature. This scenario was also reflected into Dickinsons life as she was very aware of the affairs around her world yet chose to limit her experience of belonging. Evidently, like I Had Been Hungry all the Years the consequences and insecurities that come with belonging outweigh the benefits.
The duality of isolation and belonging is explored through ones racial identity and the expectations that come with it in Terry Georges Hotel Rwanda. Like the poem A Narrow Fellow in the Grass Terry George chooses to challenge the aspect of belonging through a persona who is understood and is even accepted by his own society yet chooses to neglect the connection of belonging. Paul Rusesabagina, a wealthy hotel manager refuses to join his own peoples retaliation of racial hatred and violence hence placing him as an outsider effectively isolating him. Rutugunda and his people are fools, their time will be over It is quite evident that even though they are valuable business partners he is not trapped in the past of revenge and war against an ancient enemy ,hence his interpretation of belonging is not shaped by Hutu historical and cultural contexts. It is rather shaped by a social paradigm where his relationships and interactions with his friends are the factors which determine Pauls interaction with them and thus, being able to belong and relate to both the Hutu and the opposing Tutsi society. This is further reinforced when he harbours refugees from both sides during the rebellion uprising regardless of their race or affliction. This other side of the dual image, belonging, is also represented through the forced interaction between his opportunistic leaders that take advantage of the situation for their own greed. Like Dickinson, Rusesabaginas dedication to his family and job at the hotel was the substitute for the urge to belong representing the bread crumbs as he stood comfortably outside of his Hutu society. However due to circumstances, the forced interaction between Rusesabagina and his leaders leave him no choice but to belong to this society as he tastes the bread resulting in a very hostile environment where Paul had no familiarity with. This hostile environment parallels with Dickinsons berry that has been transplanted on to the road where Rusesabaginas near death experience of his family take a toll on his emotional state as he tries to save both the hotel and refugees. Thus, Pauls interaction with the people on both of these warring societies enriches his experience of belonging on a global scale but at the same time limits the traditional connection that a Hutu man is expected to undergo during a tense moment in history.