Stage 1 English
Text Response: The Simple Gift (Steven Herrick)
In The Simple Gift, Steven Herrick explores the boundaries of traditional assumptions regarding a sense of belonging, attitudes to homelessness and prejudice. The author challenges the expectations and approaches to homelessness in a way that expands his work on a sense of belonging and the prejudice that comes along with that way of life. In The Simple Gift, Steven Herrick both supports and challenges traditional conventions about belonging. The author supports the idea that everyone seeks a sense of belonging, and that without that belonging life has little meaning. However, the author also challenges some conventional understandings of belonging by showing that belonging can come from any situation, and is not just limited to a particular place or person. This is conveyed through the different perspectives of Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin showing their gradual sense of belonging with one another and to important places. This particular discovery of belonging in Billy’s situation includes finding belonging in his place and his friends. “We both sit staring at the beer and the sunrise, sharing the hobo hour.” (Billy - Page 49) This new sense of belonging for Billy is contrasted by Old Bill who found a renewed sense of belonging; a sense of how he can belong in a world in which neither his wife nor daughter do. “… and I realised as I walked home that for a few hours I hadn’t thought of anything but how pleasant it was to sit with these people and talk to them.” (Old Bill – page 125-126) Steven Herrick explores how having a sense of belonging changes someone and develops their personality. This is mainly explored through Caitlin’s character. Caitlin feels misplaced in her own life; rich in possession not in life. The Simple Gift was written as if she was moving through the motions of life and didn’t stop to appreciate her life until she met Billy and Old Bill. This explores the fact that you can...
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