Belonging in ‘a Foreign Wife’ and ‘Bear Hug’ Essay

Compare the ways two texts represent different aspects of belonging or not belonging. Texts ‘A Foreign Wife’ and ‘Bear hug’ both use a number of language features which convey different aspects of belonging and not belonging. ‘A Foreign Wife’, an autobiography written by Gillian Bouras, conveys feelings of not belonging by use of simile, the use of first person, and the contrast between the feelings of belonging and not belonging within the passage. Bear hug’ by Michael Ondaatje, conveys feelings of belonging by use of tone and the contrast between elements of the text. In ‘A Foreign Wife’, Bouras represents aspects of not belonging through the simile “Both boys stuck out like sore toes”.

By using this simile, Bouras successfully conveys her son’s positions as outsiders in the Greek community, representing the feeling of alienation in a situation where a person does not belong.Bouras’ use of first person storytelling in the autobiography gives us a more personal insight into her situation through the line, “for a fortnight I stood firm against the rest of the family, who demanded that the boys’ heads be shaved for the start of school”, we are able to see the emotional stress that Bouras felt in a place where she did not believe she belonged.In her description of Greek schools, Bouras uses contrast, saying that “Classes are small and the teachers are interested in, and genuinely affectionate towards, each child” this conveys her growing approval for the Greek community represents the fact that her sense of belonging increases the longer she spends there. Through ‘Bear Hug’, Ondaatje reinforces that the main feeling of belonging comes from family attachment.

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This is done through the simile “locks to me like a magnet of blood”. In this line Ondaatje is referring to his son hugging him tightly. Magnet of blood” implies the blood connection or blood bond felt between families which give a sense of belonging to one another. The change of tone between the lines “I yell ok”, to “I walk slowly around the corner to my son’s room” show contrast between his casual answer and putting off going to see his son, and anticipation as he goes in to see him. This is representing the occasional feeling of not belonging that can sometimes appear even within the blood bonded family. In these ways, Boras and Ondaatje represent different aspects of belonging and not belonging through their texts.


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