Fundamental to perceptions of belonging is the recognition of its complex nature encompassing both belonging and its antithetical concept of isolation. This duality, manifested in the relationship between an individual and the people and environment they are exposed to is paramount in the development of ones identity and therefore the definition of the institutions to which they may belong. The fragility and labyrinthine nature of belonging is explored in Raimond Gaita’s Romulus, My Father through the contrasting characters of the narrator and his titular father in their experiences to assimilate to Australian culture and society. Contrasting, Julian Jarrold’s biographical drama ‘Becoming Jane’ illustrates the influences of society on the development of an individual’s character, and further, the will of individuals to both challenge and conform to society in order to achieve a sense of belonging. Through its inherent duality, the complex notion of belonging and isolation is defined by an interaction between an individual and their surrounds.
The contrasting notions of belonging and isolation are explored in Gaita’s memoir through the conflicting experiences of the narrator and his alienated father. Illustrated through the harsh and influential environment he was exposed to in his youth, Romulus’ character, personality and morals were formed in unique circumstances, something that would later alienate him from other more conventional societies. Culturally and socially isolated in Australia, “a landscape of rare beauty, to a European eye… seemed desolate” leading to Romulus attempts to replicate European society in rural Australia. The acknowledgment of this isolation by the narrator that “my father could not become reconciled to it” provides an understanding as to the difficulties Romulus’ past experiences had provided him with. Through the development of a morale code no individual, even himself could fulfil and expectations of others he realised were too...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document