Belonging- Romulus, My Father

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A person’s identity is often reflected and shaped through one’s own personal understanding of where they belong in a society. A sense of belonging is driven by both the external and internal factors that exist around them. Raimond Gaita’s biographical memoir Romulus, My Father and Margaret Atwood’s poem “Further Arrivals” clearly demonstrate similar concepts of how a person’s sense of belonging may differ. Both texts construct related understanding of the harsh experience of migration to Australia, the struggle to find their own identity and pursuit to find their home, wherever that may be. Belonging to the people around us as well as our surroundings remains closely connected to one’s identity and sense of purpose and inevitably belonging remains an instinctive human need in all of us. Sense of belonging can be defined as the experience of both personal involvement and integration within an environment. In the chronologically constructed memoir Romulus, My Father, the characters individual pursuit to find their home is explored by Gaita. Throughout the novel, Gaita is constantly referring to his home at Frogmore, where he spent most of his childhood. However, for his father, Romulus, the tough Australian environment and way of life was a place where he could not comfortably adapt, “He longed for the generous and soft European foliage … seemed symbols of deprivation and barrenness.” For Romulus, the only place he believed to be his home was in “Markovac, a village in Yugoslavia.” Nonetheless, he is obligated by his own good will to fulfil his life in Australia for the wellbeing of his family. Gaita uses symbolism to represent his connection to what he perceives as his home. The motorbike reflects the patriarchal relationship as well as the love and trust he shared with his father, and their surrounding environment. The motorbike gives Gaita and his father the freedom they enjoyed earlier in their life, before they were engulfed in family heartache. A person’s...
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