"Beneath the clouds"- the search of belonging

Essay by dudessHigh School, 10th grade April 2006

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In Ivan Sen's "Beneath Clouds" the search of belonging is explored in the story of two teenagers in rural Australia. "Beneath Clouds" is about two teenagers who meet up on the road to Sydney. One is a volatile Aboriginal who has escaped from a youth detention centre in order to visit his dying mother; the other is a schoolgirl of Aboriginal descent seeking her long-absent Irish father. At first Vaughn and Lena struggle to find any common ground. However, during the course of the journey Vaughn and Lena begin to realise they share a common purpose.

The search for belonging is shown in the story of Lena who longs to belong to something that is more significant and worth living for. Lena feels trapped living in a small community outside Moree. She is unsatisfied by the people around her including her mother and step father.

Her Irish father is in Sydney and she longs to be with him, dreaming of one day going to Ireland. For the time being, she is living with her Aboriginal mother. The family is caught in poverty and alcoholism leading her parents to be vicious and uncaring. When her younger brother is arrested for stealing cigarettes, leading her mother to express relief not regret, it's the final straw for Lena. She hops the next bus to Sydney where she hopes to find her father and live with him. She is driven by her family photo album which consists of photos of the life she wishes to belong in. The significance of this photo album becomes aware to the viewers as she continually takes it out and looks at the pictures of her father and Ireland. It is this photo album which gives her hope and leads a pathway for her...