Belonging Place

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Finding a sense of belonging to a place can influence an individual’s sense of acceptance within the community and culture or opposingly can enhance their sense of isolation and alienation from society.This is reflected through Raimond Gaita’s memoir Romulus My Father and Manfred Jurgensen’s poem Bonegilla 1916 through extensive literary devices.We learn individuals perceptions of place and their ability to adjust to new places governs their ability to belong and feel at home with new cultures. An individuals perception of the surrounding landscape will govern and influence their ability to reconcile a sense of belonging within the community.This message is highlighted through the character of Romulus who displays pessimist perceptions towards the Australian landscape further strengthening his connection to Romania and becoming a barrier for his belonging to Australia.His views are symbolised in the Australian foliage, “The eucalypts seemed desolate,” “My father could not become reconciled to it,they seemed symbols of deprivation and bareness.” It is evident through Romulus’ lack of appreciation for the foliage of the Australian environment that he longs for European society. “Romulus longed for European foliage,” again it is shown that his own perception of the landscape governs his belonging to Australia as his inability to adjust to the landscape of Australia becomes a barrier for his acceptance of Australian culture.Contrastingly Raimond’s perception of the Australian landscape is one of pure admiration and positive attitude reflecting the conflicting perspectives of these characters and that their own perceptions govern their ability to belong or not to.Raimond’s admiration is charcterised in sensory imagery and biblical allusions, the “sparse foliage,scraggy trees and primitive hills” are all examples of the beautiful environment in Raimond’s eye,”It as as though God has taken me to the back of his workshop” he says,a sight that “transformed my sense of life.” It is further evident that his own positive perception of the landscape allows him to settle in the Australian community as the consequences of this is reflected in the character of Christine and her lack of understanding and appreciation of the environment which leads to her depression and desolation. “The dead red gum became for my mother a symbol of desolation,” here the landscape enhances Christine’s alienation to Australian society being “small,frail and weak” “depressed and lonely” Manfred Jurgensen’s poem Bonegilla 1961,also highlights that an individuals perception can enhance their isolation or allow them to belong in a community.The perceptions of the immigrants at the start of the poem reflect their anger and frustration towards the Australian outback and the same perspectives Romulus had towards the same camp that they both reside in.It is evident the landscape causes their confusion and frustration and “impotent anger” Jurgensen describes through poor syntax and structure to reflect this non acceptance of the English culture and language.His use of sensory imagery is reflective of their pessimist attitudes towards nature and their inability to appreciate it.”The heat of burnt grasses” “The humid weather” all reflect the immigrants discomfort and inability to settle in the Australian community,that thy have to find a release of comfort with their “desperate love making” however their changing perceptions reflect their ability to accept new environments cause a new generation of life and a new beginning in the end of the poem.. The metaphor “snake sheds its skin” symbolises new life and becomes a reflection of the changing perceptions, “the twilight sets in,the morning builds its dome” the personification strongly shows that the immigrants become reconciliated to the natural landscape and allow it to formulate their sense of belonging to new places which further reiterates that an ability to appreciate places and landscape can allow one to belong and...
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