We can choose to belong or not belong. To what extent do the experiences of individuals and their place in society influence their decisions about belonging?
Belonging or not belonging is accomplished with the decisions made by individuals. The choices made by individuals can directly affect the extent in which a person belongs. This is clearly evident in Arthur Millers play The Crucible and Tim Burtons film Edward Scissorhands.
Dialogue throughout Edward Scissorhands demonstrates the effects of not belonging can have. Edward, being so different its treated as an object to many in the town. Can I bring him to show and tell on Monday?
Edward is seen to belong within the society purely as an object and for entertainment. Hes sodifferent. Completely different. Although Edward, unaware of the opinions of others, enjoys his experience within the society as the attention from others which results in his own sense of belonging brings him happiness and a sense of identity. Woman Whats been the best part of your new life here in town? Edward the friends Ive made
The concept of belonging has been illuminated through the study of The Crucible, and Edward Scissorhands. Dialogue, literary techniques and film technique express multiple forms of belonging social, personal and interpersonal and the positive and negative outcomes of both belonging and not belonging can have on an individual.
The crucibles characters John Proctor, Abigail Williams and Mary Warren are three characters that all made decisions that had a various array of effects. Initially John proctor was a highly regarded character and therefore had a strong sense of belonging. It was apparent in the beginning that John Proctors decisions were of common sense; he spoke his heart, and as a result was considered an outcast and looked down upon by others that were accepted. His experiences were without doubt of accusation and alienation. Abigail Williams contrasts with this as she was initially an outsider, she had a bed reputation within the town, however due to her decision to accuse people of witchery, and she gained an immediate authority and power within Salem, which meant she become included. Mary Warren is neither similar to proctor or Abigail, instead she changes between acceptance and alienation throughout the play, she clearly presents to the audience that the decisions made affect the extent of belonging and not belonging.
Proctor is a character that chose to stand up for the truth, and by making this decision he became an outcast. Proctor debates with Putnam in Act one which reveals Proctors inner personality there is a party in this church why, then I must find it and join it. The key choice made by proctor is to defy the authority in attempts to reveal the truths about witchery. In return he was imprisoned, one of the most isolated experiences one could feel. Miller uses setting and directions to display proctors experience of seclusion. At the back is a high barred window, near it, a great, heavy door, the barred window, and heavy door, create a setting that provides no escape; the audience can sense that proctor is trapped. A sound- the sibilance of dragging feet on stone his wrists are chained appeals to the audiences auditory senses and assists Miller in forming a heightened sense of constriction. It was Proctors choice to speak his heart that supported his sense of exclusion.
Abigail initially wasnt accepted due to her bad reputation within the town, but due to the choices she made, she become one of the most influential characters in the play. I want to open myself! I saw Sarah Good with the devil! I saw Goody Osborn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil! after she saw there was a way out by accusing people of witchery, Abigail gained a substantial amount of power within the community, she was accepted by the community. This one decision created a much greater experience of belonging for her. [In an open threat] let you beware Mr Danforth. Think you be so mighty that the power of hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it Miller used stage directions and dialogue to present Abigails new found authority that came with belonging. Miller also used a metaphor to present Abigail as hell, the power of hell was in actual fact the power of Abigail; however it was similar to the wrath of hell if you were accused of witchery. The key decision to blame others of witchery was Abigails pivotal moment that created a greater experience of belonging for her.
Mary Warren demonstrates very clearly that choices can influence experiences of belonging. Throughout most of the play Mary is accepted by the girls and the court as she just follows along with them without and disturbance. However she chooses to defy Abigail, to do whats right and an automatic disassociation began between her and the girls. Miller uses stage directions to express the exclusion to the audience [She glances at Abigail who is staring down at her remorselessly]. However under the pressure Mary breaks and she once again makes a decision to follow along with the girls hysteria to once again belong. Once again Miller uses stage directions to show her reunite with the girls [they all watch, as Abigail, out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing Mary to her]. Mary makes two key decisions which alternate her between belonging and not belonging.
The central characters in the crucible and Edward scissorhands both prove that individuals can choose to belong or not to belong. The forces that shaped their decisions varied from individual to individual, but their context and experiences play a significant role.