Belonging Essay

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Connection is the restorative force by which individuals reaffirm or transform their identities. Ultimately, it is the ability to form meaningful and sustaining relationships that allows individuals to assess and affirm their values. Raimond Gaita’s memoir, “Romulus, My Father” (RMF), Evan Hunters short story “On the Sidewalk Bleeding’ (OTSB), and “The Oasis”, a Shark Island Documentary, explore this notion through employing the universal themes of compassion, alienation and love as they enrich characters sense of hope, significance, comfort and security- fundamental to a sense of belonging, or paradoxically lead to a sense of isolation and exclusion.

RMF explores the catalytic nature of relationships in constructing an imperative sense of significance, comfort and security, through examining the themes of love, compassion and alienation. This is reflected through the contrast between Romulus’ “life, his values, his friendship with Hora and marriage to Milka”, and his relationship with his first wife, Christine. Romulus and Christine’s relationship is based on an “unrealistic hope”, and a tremulous love, recognised and expressed by Raimond in his narration as “naïve”. This is supported by his description of Christine as “a troubled city girl…[who] couldn’t settle in a.. landscape that highlighted her isolation”, the contrast of which emphasises her destructive inability to form satisfying relationships, alienating her from Romulus, Raimond and the sense of security and comfort implicated by the notion of a united family. This is emphasised as Christine “stood separately, weeping bitterly” at Mitru’s funeral, with use of emotive language to craft an image of isolation, conveying the impacts of alienation and loss on her temperament.

By contrast, Raimond, Romulus and Hora come to share an ingrained sense of idealistic congruency, “I learnt from them the connection between individuality and…Otherness”. Here, “Otherness” – an allusion to 20th Century European...
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