Belonging is neither a physical nor tangible construct; rather it is the psychological and metaphysical abstract which permeates the human ability to form relationships and discover notions of identity, acceptance and understanding. The notion of belonging however is one which is apparent through the consideration of the personal, cultural and historical context which shapes a sense of belonging to the individual, the community and the environment. As a social construct, belonging and its subsequent representations of relationships within literature including Raimond Gaitas ‘Romulus My Father’, John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ and Barack Obama’s Election Night speech conceptualise the notion and search for an identity and acceptance in creating a sense of belonging.
The father son relationship is one which is conceptualised within Gaita’s ‘Romulus, My Father’ as a pivotal strength which ties the two together; if anything it is not only a physical one, but also a psychological one. However unlike Freud’s suggested Oedipus Complex whereby the male child falls in love with the mother figure, thus growing hatred and fear for the father, due to Christina’s lack of attention and care due to her own mental illness, the complex is subverted, as Raimond grows an attachment or bond with his father, who provides him with a sense of security and belonging. The strength of this affiliation between a father and his son, is exemplary even after his father’s death, as a way to preserve and celebrate Romulus’ life Gaita writes what he calls a ‘tragic poem’. This bond between the two is no further explained by that of Romulus’ accident in which with passionate words to his son he states “Never believe I don’t love you”. The bond between the father and son is exemplary in Romulus My Father as they become reliant upon each other for the psychological support needed through times of trauma such as Christina’s death or Lydia’s betrayal.
Throughout the course of the memoir...
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