People interact with and also with their surroundings. This impacts on their sense of belonging or their sense of isolation. We see this is William Shakespeare’s play ‘As You Like It’ and the Anglo-Indian genre movie, ‘Bride and Prejudice’ by Gurinder Chadha. The relationship between people and the interaction with place heavily impacts on the sense of belonging among the characters in the prescribed text. Rosalind and Celia are cousins who share a common understanding and identical values. Being from the same parental stock their social perception of life is similar.
Their fathers being brothers, they share the same social economic circle. Their closeness is stressed when Celia paradoxically emphasises, “you know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to have”. This shows Celia is prepared to forfeit the dutchy for her cousin Rosalind, which cements their friendship and helps them to improve their sense of bonding with each other. The ducal court and the lust for power sees Celia’s father usurp the dukedom from his elder brother, Duke Senior, Rosalind’s father.
This chaotic deed breaks the bond of unity and segregates Duke Senior, Rosalind, Celia, Orlando, Jacques and Adam. The two fathers are located in a contrasting environment. The court of Duke Fredrick is seen as a contrast to the forest od Arden. Duke Fredrick’s court seems to foster values of flattery, falsity and autocracy. These values create friction on the bond of belonging and unity. Where as the forest of Arden is an allusion of the garden of Eden.
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The interaction with this rustic setting acts as a whet stone to refine the disturbed banished crew of exiles. Duke Senior’s syntactical expression, “running brooks’” and “sermon in stones” shows the peace and serenity of the forest of Arden. This natural environment of forest of Arden also fosters friendship. Hardship also accompanies the calm serenity of this so-called paradise because the harsh, “churlish chidings” and “bites and bolows” of the weather fosters a sense of independence on each of the exiled members in the forest.
Rosalind’s impersonating as Ganymede protects not only her virginity but also her cousin Celia’s maidenhood. These good times and bad times and the will to succeed are essential qualities that assist the sense of belonging in the prescribed text. Love is another pervading factor in emotional belonging. The sisterly affection between Rosalind and Celia acts as a wedge that not only glues them together but also binds Orlando with Rosalind; Duke senior with his younger brother Duke Fredrick; Celia with Oliver and Phoebe with Silvius.
Thus we see how Shakespeare portrays how belonging can be nurtured with love, understanding and a firm purpose of commitment for a common good. Shakespeare justifies the power of love and in the concept of belonging by making Rosalind metaphorically refer to love as madness, “love is merely a madness…that he whispers are in love too”. By this quibble Rosalind tries to humorously convince Orlando that just as he is in love with her, she is also madly in love with him. This reciprocal interaction with each other helps to foster unity among all the characters in the play.
Similarly Gurinder Chadha’s romantic musical film, Bride and prejudice portrays the concept of belonging that is nurtured on account of interaction with people and places. The Bakshi Family has a strong sense of togetherness within the home and also the microscopic environment of their rural setting in Amritsar. The film in the opening scene uses mise en scene with the protagonist Lalita Bakshi serene in her environ. In the scene that follows we see The Bakshi Family, in their Indian accent, discuss marriage.
The love and closeness of the sisters, Jaya, Maya and Lakhi establish their security, warmth and comfort within their home. This closeness and sacrifice is also displayed in the prescribed text where Rosalind and Celia make sacrifices for each other. Interaction with a place is presented where Lalita, the heroine, has to build an affinity not only with Amritsar in India but also with Will Darcy’s wealthy American family hotel in America. Her education al competence helps her easily integrate with the American way of life.
In like manner even though Darcy felt out of place on his first visit to Amritsar in India, his love for Lalita made him adjust with the Indian culture and also with the Indian locale. The contrast of Darcy’s occidental attire in the early scenes is different in the concluding part of the film. The oriental drum beat played by Darcy himself and his Indian outfit piloted, by an elephant, shows how in belonging sacrifices need to be made. These sacrifices create a bond between the members who yearn for a common goal. In the case of Bride and Prejudice the love between Will Darcy and Lalita
Bakshi cement a relationship between the Bakshi family and the Darcy family; so also in As You Like It the love between Celia and Oliver and Rosalind and Orlando foster a sense of belonging between the members of the ducal court and the members in The Forest of Arden. Thus establishing the fact that interaction between people and places heavily impacts on the sense of belonging. On analysing both texts we see, William Shakespeare and Gurinder Chadha uncover how a sense of belonging or isolation is created by the people we interact with, the environment in which we are and the love , understanding and concern we express for each other.
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