Belonging: Romulus My Father

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The desires to belong through social interaction and acceptance, affiliation with a particular group or culture, as well a connection to the land are all human nature. The human desire to belong can be seen in the memoir “Romulus my Father” written by Raimond Gaita and the film “Crash” directed by Peter Haggis. “Romulus My Father” portrays aspects and impacts of acceptance and disassociation on the individual. Gaita aims to emphasise and honestly record the difficulties in the roles the characters have to play within their new social surroundings. The movie “Crash” tells the story of several groups of people, differing in race and social class and takes a provocative look at the complexities of racial tolerance in contemporary, post 9/11 Los Angeles. The film tracks the volatile intersections of multi-ethnic characters, as they struggle to overcome their fears, causing them to fail as a community and ultimately diminishing all sense of belonging.

Belonging means identifying with a social class, race or culture. In the orientation of the memoir, Gaita immediately focuses on cultural and social aspects of his Father’s Romanian upbringing. He makes evident Romulus’ hard working nature, influenced by the Romanian culture. “From an early age he worked hard… childhood did not exist in that part of the world at that time”. The author uses reportage style, as he recalls what he remembers from when he was a child. Since the age of thirteen it was evident Romulus “was not merely skilled, he was a man of practical genius… his genius flourished because of his joy in having a hammer and steel in his hands”. Belonging in this instance is developed through a sense of ownership and pride in ones skills. Gaita juxtaposes this with concepts of not belonging as he aims to connect his audience to personal experiences. For Romulus’ mother, Christina, her inability to fit into the Australian culture was caused by her mental illness and European values, which fuelled her depression,...
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