What Belongs to Us Essay

Marie Howe
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Semansky is an instructor of English literature and composition whose essays, poems, and stories regularly appear in journals and magazines. In this essay, Semansky considers the idea of belonging in "What Belongs to Us."

In "What Belongs to Us," Howe explicitly questions human beings' relationship to the world and to themselves by examining assumptions under girding notions of individuality and belonging. She does this through questioning the ways in which Western selfhood has been represented.

The idea of belonging is powerful. People belong to families, to jobs, to communities, to churches. They believe in ideas, in things, in one another, in order to be a part of something bigger than them, to give their lives meaning and purpose. Poet John Donne wrote that "No man is an island," meaning that people need one another to survive, to prosper, to simply be. However, belonging isn't necessarily a choice that...

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This section contains 1,490 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the What Belongs to Us Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
What Belongs to Us from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.