Q: How have the texts studied in class shaped your understanding of belonging?
Belonging is a process; a type of journey developed in stages, and is a two-way process where some effort or contribution must be made in order for an individual to belong. That belonging may be to a place, a group of people or both. Ultimately, belonging is a sense of enlightenment and acceptance felt when an individual gains an understanding of themselves in relation to others and the world. Karl Marx, wrote, "Men make their own history, but not under circumstances of their own choosing". In the biographical memoir 'Romulus, My Father', Romulus makes the decision to travel to Australia and escape the ruin and oppression in Europe and to help Christine with her asthma. However, he learns that one cannot escape their own situations and surroundings. 'Romulus, my Father' written by Raimond Gaita and 'The Painted Veil' directed by John Curran both explore the facets of relationships and place regarding belonging in various ways.
The prolonged existence of relationships between people, in spite of social challenges, conveys the significance of attachment to friendship and its positive impacts on the happiness of an individual. The deteriorating relationships between Romulus and Christine and then later Romulus and Lydia causes Romulus to plunge into a state of mental illness causing tension with his old friend, Hora. However “despite their quarrels, Hora and my father [Romulus] remained friends, but friends apart. This was because of the strength of old bonds”. This paradoxical quote of ‘remaining friends, but friends apart’ emphasises the strength of long lasting relationships which can surpass life’s setbacks and difficulties. Mental illness drove their relationship apart but their similarities and compatibility enabled them to stay friends. Hora knew “...despite his illness, there was still no one who remained as steadfast as my father in his disdain of superficialities, in...
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