Belonging - 'Romulus, My Father' and 'Pursuit of Happyness'

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‘An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging.'

An enriched experience of belonging can be seen in the strong relationship between a father and son. This concept can be clearly identified with reference to both Raimond Gaita’s elegiac memoir ‘Romulus, My Father’ and Gabriele Muccino’s film ‘the Pursuit of Happyness’ which is based on the biography by Chris Garner. In both texts, a strong sense of belonging can be recognised between a father and son and through the unconditional love they share with each other as a parent and child. Each father contributes so much to their sons’ lives, in order to provide not only financially, but also to help them achieve a sense of belonging in the world, somewhat due to the lack of belonging provided within their families. In each text, the wife/mother figures have not been able to fully contribute to the belongingness in their family, resulting in the father figure having to take over the mother’s role, in order to provide for their son with what every son should have - a sense of belonging in the world and to be happy. This sense of a father wanting his son to belong, is also encouraged by the fact that each father has not grown up with a father figure themselves. Belonging is also shown in the way each father believes they have responsibility in shaping their son’s character, in the form of trust and shaping their son’s perceptions.

‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ basket ball scene demonstrates a strong connection in the sense of belonging between father and son. The scene demonstrates how Chris reflects on his previous life, by giving Christopher a very emotional and meaningful speech on a concept he clearly believes in and can reflect on. This is shown here, when Chris quotes “Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. Not even me. Alright? If you’ve got a dream, you’ve got to protect it. If people can’t do something themselves, they...
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