To acquire a sense of belonging within our modern paradigm, one must be able to identify themselves in their surrounding environment that will habitually strengthen the relationships with the people in our society. Through Pierre Coffin’s film Despicable Me and the film Madagascar by Eric Darnell, and Tom McGrath we as the contemporary audience learn and realise the importance of acceptance which consolidate our relationships, experiences with our friends and family, and most importantly our selves.
Understanding nourishes belonging, while a lack of understanding prevents it. Deep and meaningful relationships allow us to integrate into society, and develop a positive outlook on most aspects of our lives. During the first scene of the film, it is very evident that Gru does indeed possess a very negative mind-set, on all things in his life. This is illustrated to us through his demeaning body language and his agitated tone towards others, “Go away. I’m not home”.
Further into the movie, we see Gru’s relationship with the little children cultivate into a loving and caring relationship, as Gru opens up to the children and saves them from the notorious villain named Vector. Furthermore, the relationship between Alex and Marty is a love-hate one. They are always quarrelling over the smallest of issues, but always hold together a true and meaningful relationship. When the protagonists first arrive on the island, they are hateful towards each other and blame each other for one another’s dismay.
As the film progresses on, and the relationships kept strong, they are able to over come these adversaries and develop a positive perspective of the island. The tone and body language of the characters when they are enjoying the facilities they have constructed, illustrate to us that relationships will develop into understandings of a person’s true nature. Human beings yearn to be accepted in this contemporary society, it is the very first step in truly being understood by someone even if you both retain differing morals.
Gru is a super villain, who hasn’t been very successful in his meddling with society and is therefore frowned upon by the other super villains (Vector) and also by the Bank of Evil. No one is able to truly understand or open up to Gru because of his spiteful nature and malignant characteristics. The juxtaposition of Gru’s house to all the other houses in the neighbourhood, portray to us that the people who aren’t accepted into society will stand out the most and that the people who aren’t accepted, will not be understood for who they are.
Similarly to this, in the film Madagascar, Alex comes to the sudden realisation of his primeval desire after attacking his good friend Marty while they were running through the field. The use of pathetic fallacy in the scene where Alex isolates himself in the pouring rain, exemplifies Alex’s remorse towards Marty, and he succumbs to the fact that he indeed has become a wild creature. Through accepting his own ways, Alex is able to protect his dear friends and once again be accepted back into the group again.
Through experiencing obstacles and problematic events in one’s life, we as human beings are able to over come these adversaries by learning from our prior mistakes and reconciling with others. After Gru has claimed the moon as his own, he finds the ticket for the girl’s ballet recital in his pocket and through his facial expression, the determination and conviction in his face, depicts to us that in the events leading up to the moon possessing, Gru has grown attached to the three girls and decides that he must be present for the recital.
When Vector threatens the lives of the children for the possession of the moon, Gru is able to truly understand his feelings and discovers that the girls genuinely belong with him. In light with this, the animals in Madagascar are finally able to return home after experiencing all the hardships of living on an island that is uninhabited by human beings. These animals didn’t feel as if they belonged on that island at all, but through the hardships they endured together and experiences they tackled through, they were able to reconcile with their friends and learn from their mistakes.
Therefore is it evident that, acceptance of one’s true feelings, relationships that are true and meaningful, and experiences that make us realise our mistakes, are all important in building our understanding of someone, and that understanding will nourish our sense of belonging. For Gru, it was understanding his true feelings of wanting to be with the three children, and for the animals from Madagascar, it was the sense of wanting to belong to a wild habitat, but at the same time wishing they were living their own domesticated lifestyles. These texts both illustrate to us how understanding, can nourish one’s sense of belonging.