What themes of belonging are represented in the graphic novel "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan and what textual evidence supports belonging?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The graphic novel 'The Arrival' by Shaun Tan depicts themes of isolation, belonging, novelty, cultural difference and the issues and challenges around the whole idea of displacement. Displacement is a different theme to immigration or emigration, though they share some of the same common features, as displacement is often thrust upon communities or families for reasons such as imminent war, tribal fighting, famine or drought.

Displaced communities often suffer greatly from homesickness for their own land - an issue not shared with those emigrants who optimistically leave in search of a better life, though sometimes even these can decide they have made a mistake. It is very often difficult to settle in a new land where culture, language, customs and climate are different to the homeland. Issues such as poverty and victimisation or racism can be challenges too - and the whole lot is very difficult for the new citizen to take on board. The idea of belonging is very important to people and everyone seems to need that feeling of security, even if it is a case of embracing a new nation gratefully and declaring it to be one's new true home. Young people often get over these difficult issues quicker than the elderly as they are more malleable due to their youth and ability to make new young friends quickly, so absorbing the new culture.

rubberandpencil | Student

I'm still uncertain as to how it relates to belonging, rather than not belonging. I am familiar with the theme of displacement and desolation with textual evidence, but am unsure of how the theme of belonging is evident in the text.