Belonging Essay

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Peter Kim
‘Gaita brilliantly captures the distressing immigrant experience of struggle and displacement in the rugged Australian landscape.’ Discuss the ways Raimond Gaita explores these experiences in Romulus, My Father and how they’re explored in ONE other related text of your own choosing. Many immigrants describe their initial experience of Australia to be one of struggles and displacement. This is likely due to a lack of attachment to the rugged Australian landscape and unfamiliar people. Raimond Gaita in his memoir Romulus, My Father, and Sobonfu Some in his short story A Place to Belong both explore the immigrant experience of struggle and displacement through contrasting views of the natural surroundings and a sense of foreign place acting as a barrier to affinity. In Romulus, My Father, the loneliness and desolation felt by immigrants is highlighted by the language used to describe the natural environment surrounding Romulus and Christine at the time, and is juxtaposed with Raimond’s view of the landscape. The use of alliteration in “European or English eye” used to describe Romulus’ perspective of the landscape highlights the inability for Romulus to adapt to the new environment due to his strong connection to his homeland and Raimond states that “even after forty years, my father could not become reconciled to it”. Likewise, to Christine, her new life in Australia was one of isolation and loneliness. “A dead red gum stood only a hundred metres from the house and became for my mother a symbol of her desolation”. The use of red imagery evokes thoughts relating to death, emphasised by the word “dead” preceding it. Like Romulus, Christine was unable to feel attached to the Australian environment and it mirrored her discomfort of the new life in Australia and Romulus went as far as to planting peppercorns which were used to “mediate between local and European landscapes”. To Raimond however, who is accustomed to life in Australia, “The landscape seemed...
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