Belonging is a complex perception informed by an individual’s understanding of their own identity, and their connections with other people and places. As such it is an intensely personal and subjective concept; Raimond Gaita’s memoir ‘Romulus, My Father’ represents belonging as a perception closely interrelated with one’s identity and wellbeing. Similarly, Penn’s 2007 film ‘Into the Wild’ and Judith Wright’s poem ‘Nigger’s Leap, New England’ explore the wider significance of belonging on a socio-cultural and national scale.
. Gaita represents this concept in his memoir through the contrasting connections experienced by Gaita’s family with the landscape. “In that vast landscape...she appeared forsaken” uses a detached narratorial style to emphasise Christine’s alienation from the landscape. Gaita presents his perspective that this alienation drove her mental instability; “the wrong conceptual environment for her to find herself”. This displays at once the significance of belonging in terms of identity and Gaita’s own perception of his mother - his attempt to empathise and understand her displays his struggle to establish a connection with his mother. In terms of Gaita’s personal context, this can therefore be considered highly significant.
Conversely, Raimond’s own understanding and connection with the landscape reinforces his sense of identity. “My perception of the landscape changed radically as when one sees the second image in an ambiguous drawing” – the use of allegory conveys the transcendental nature of Raimond’s perception of the land, and its significance to his own sense of identity.
The significance of connections between people and places is further explored in terms of national belonging. “She was marooned in Australia.” uses a declarative sentence to emphasise the allusion to Australia as an island continent, reflecting Christine’s disaffection with the landscape. Her inability to reconcile with the landscape is shown to ultimately...
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