Belonging Essay

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  • Topic: Georg Ludwig von Trapp, Maria von Trapp, Culture
  • Pages : 6 (1860 words )
  • Download(s) : 64
  • Published : May 7, 2013
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Whilst it's true to acknowledge that perceptions of Belonging depend on various contexts, these perceptions are also reliant on the composer's choice of language modes, forms, features and structures. Therefore, the amalgamation of different contexts and the composer's creative decisions induce particular perceptions of Belonging seen through comparative links between the 1998 memoir Romulus, My Father by Raimond Gaita and Robert Wise's 1965 film “The Sound of Music”. Such comparative links include the neglect of their children that Christine Anna Dörr and Georg vonn Trapp perpetrate, the patriotism for their homelands that Romulus Gaita and Georg express, and the political ideologies of Nazism and communism bringing about forced relocations. With such contexts come the composers' creative choices to portray them and thus, the intertwining of them which brings about perceptions of Belonging.

Perceptions of not belonging are induced by the neglect of their children that Christine and Georg instigate. This is stressed in Romulus, My Father through Gaita's resentful references to his mother's utter incapacity to fulfil rudimentary maternal tasks due to her mental illness which has a detrimental impact on her belonging with her son. As a personal context refers to elements that are one's own and individual, this context shapes Christine's perception of not belonging, with it being an intrinsic component of Christine's identity to feel disconnectedness from parenting due to her psychological woes. This is also shaped by a social context (which refers to the connections made with other people) because it highlights Christine's aversion to socially connecting with her offspring, again exploring the barriers to belonging that her mental illness induced. This is evident when Gaita states, “After she gave birth to me, she showed signs of an illness that was to become increasingly severe in the coming decade. She seemed incapable of taking care of me, ignoring my elementary needs of feeding and bathing.” Through this cutting tone and emphatic, harsh lexical choice (“increasingly severe”, “seemed incapable”, “ignoring”), it's evident that the composer has chosen to stress his own perspective that Christine was unequivocally inapt for the maternal role and therefore, doesn't belong with it in personal and social contexts. In saying this, Gaita exemplified bias against his mother as Christine's voice is absent from the text (the reader isn't presented with any strong perspectives from her), supporting that perceptions of belonging are shaped by different contexts and compositional decisions.

This sense of not belonging is mirrored in “The Sound of Music” through Georg's blatant neglect of his children. In contrast to Christine, however, Georg isn't suffering from a mental illness, distancing himself from his children so as not to be reminded of his wife who passed away. This perception of not belonging is shaped by a personal context, with his own emotionally traumatising experience of losing someone he cherished initiating his negligence towards anyone directly connected to her (his children). This is also shaped by a social context as his experience of loss has dissuaded him from socially interacting with and nurturing the familial group of his seven children and therefore, negatively impacting his paternal social skills. This is evident when his housekeeper, Frau Schmidt, states to Maria, “Ever since the captain lost his poor wife, he runs this house as if on one of his ships... No more music, no more laughing. Nothing that reminds him of her. Even the children.” Through Schmidt's regretful intonation and facial expression in addition to the compositional choice to use short, sharp truncated sentences and the repetition of “no more” followed by lexicon renowned for positive connotations (“music”, “laughing”) in the dialogue, Georg's sense of not belonging in personal and social contexts is emphasised. This supports that...
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