Belonging: the Rabbits, Pung on New Australians and Romulus My Father

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Belonging: the Rabbits, Pung on New Australians and Romulus My Father

By | October 2009
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People experience a sense of belonging in varied and complex ways. How is this explored in the texts you have studied? In your response, refer closely to your prescribed text and to at least TWO other related texts of your own choosing.

The migrant experience describes an individual’s change form one social context to another. Such a vast difference of results in a complicated confrontation of values. Hence a sense of belonging lies inherent in the individual’s ability to marry or reconcile identity with their social environment. Raimond Gaita’s semi-autobiographical memoir Romulus, My Father and the Australian’s feature article Alice Pung on New Australians both explore the difficulties faced when immigrating and how a new found sense of belonging occurs through a transformation of identity and values. John Marsden and Shawn Tan’s picture book The Rabbits use the graphical and written to demonstrate the loss of identity due to a loss of belonging that occurred in the white settlement of Australia.

It is inherent in human nature to have a desire for belonging. This is evident in Romulus’ seeking out those of a similar history to him, namely Mitru and Hora, whose varied experience is more similar, his than Australians. In simple characteristics, such as a common language, they form a bond. “Having arrived at the camp [Romulus] set out to find those like him”. However having to work amongst and with the people of this new social context requires Romulus to confront the differences of values between him and that of Australia. Romulus has to compromise his ideals to that of Australia in order for Australia to accept him. He builds towards the Australian dream of owning a house and time to provide for Raimond the best. However Romulus also examples tat it is indeed a compromise not an assimilation of values. He finds the Australians to be “lazy” and “incompetent”. In embracing his won values of respect, honours and hard work, Romulus influences the Australian...

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