To belong or not to belong is the feeling of being excluded or included by a group, person, place or community. I believe to belong on many levels you must first feel you are entitled to belong. This may come about through your personal experiences and how you tuley feel about yourself and your self worth. In the illustrated story ‘The Sneetches’ illustrated and written by Dr. Suess he demonstrates individuals within a group desperately seeking approval of another group they are made to believe are more elite. Dr. euss introduces his book describing the two groups “the star-belly sneetches had bellies with stars. The plain-belly sneeches had none upon thars. With this green star he uses symbolism to create two different social groups within a larger community. The plain belly’s desperately seek the approval and acceptance of the star-belly’s as they feel excluded and have less worth. To be called ‘plain’ insinuates that you are ordinary and have less value in comparison with the word ‘star’ which implies you are exceptional.
This results in the formation of a class system where one group is perceived as better than the other. This also demonstrates the symbolism within the text. Over a long period of time, the plain bellied were ridiculed and isolated from the star bellies. This must have diminished their feeling of belong individually and as a group “they kept them away never let them come near and that’s how they were treated year after year. ”. The star belly sneetches used discrimination, intimidation and bullying to reinforce their higher class status wearing down the self worth of the plain bellies. they would brag ‘ we’re the best kind of sneetch on the the beaches. ‘ with their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort ‘we’ll have nothing to do with that plain belly sort. ” in this he uses both alliteration and rhyming to engage the readers but also entertain. this is also shown through his illustrations where we see the start bellied sneetches playing on the beach happily together with a brightly coloured ball with big red stars on it while the forlorn plain belly sneetches look on sadly.
As the story progresses it reinforces the exclusion of the plain bellied sneetches by descriptive language “they never invited the Plain-Belly sneetches. They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches. ” the words cold and dark influenced me to imagine the isolation they must feel and their lack of belonging. This is also demonstrated in the illustration by the contrasting colours the plain bellies being in the dull and dark distance with the star bellies almost in a shinning light partying.
I believe this story brings to light just how a minor difference can create such a huge rift within a community. Belonging can be a personal perception created by oneself or anothers influence on you, for example bullying intimidation and long term rejection. We may come to a point where we are so desperate to belong we will change ourselves. we may change appearance, beliefs and attitudes just to feel we belong. Longing to belong is human nature this is reflected in the text ‘The Sneetches’ as it states the plain bellies “were sitting their wishing their bellies had stars”.
They believed that if they changed their appearance to mirror that of the star bellies they would feel included. This may be reflecting society where we deem ourselves acceptable by presenting ourselves a certain way, not taking into account our inner-self and individuality. Believeing that if we change our appearance to suit a mould we will be accepted, leaves us open, exposed and vulnerable. Our vulnerabilities and our desperation to be accepted may not be known to ourselves but could be obvious to other around us who then can take advantage of the situation.
This is shown in the text by a person that describe him self as “the fix it up Chappie” and see’s that there was a huge emphasis on appearance in this community and the superficial way in which they think. He makes them an offer they cant refuse. “ive come here to help you. I have what you need. My prices are low. And I work at great speed. ” this demonstrates how easily the plain belly sneetches are manipulated due to the desperatioin to belong, they are willing to change their appearance and pay a stranger who promises he can make the changes. Dr. Suess uses onomatapia in describing the changing process within the machine “it klonked and it bonked and it jerked and it bereked and it bopped them about but the thing really worked” they now believed they were equal as their appearance was what they so longed for. They feel through their transformation that now they are equal. They present themselves to the original star bellied and say “ were exactly like you, you cant tell us apart. Were all just the same you snooti old smarties. And now we can go to your frankfruter parties. ” Is belonging just a quick fix or does it take time and adaption?
They were lead to believe that just by changing their appearance they would then be accepted but this was not the case. Dr. Suess uses irony as the original star bellies were offered to have their stars removed to retain their distinction from the others at a higher price. The irony is that they used their stars symbolically to imply their supperiority and now are happy to be plain-bellied. Once this was acomplished they continued their facsade “with their snoots in the air they paraded about, opened their beaks and let out a shout”.
Despratly clinging to their individuality as a group. This is betrayed in the illustrations by their gleeful appearance, all walking in sink and perfectly together as the others standing dishevled with a look of confusion and anger. In desperation to achieve or maintain their status the sneetches line up to go in and out of the machines on what is now described as “wild screaming beaches” changing their physical appearance untill all their money was spent and none of them knew who was who.
They have now become sneetches as individuals class and appearance has been erased, they now need to focus on belong to themselves. Dr suess confirms this by saying “the sneetches got really quite smart on that day the day they decided that sneetches are sneetched and no kind of sneetch are best on the beaches” “that day all the sneeches forgot about stars and weather they had one or not upon thars”.