Looking for Alibrandi

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Living in a multicultural Australian community in the nineties where the enforcement of opposing cultures, beliefs and opinions is expected and the pressures of expectations are abundant would not be easy. This is especially obvious if the ‘victim' is emotionally unhinged (or at least slightly ajar) and looking for stability through constants, including their heritage and who they actually are. Josephine Alibrandi has all of these pressures heaped on her adolescent mind but the impact is doubled because she doesn't know who she is, which isn't helped by the fact that she has trouble initially ‘bonding' with her father, which is a necessary step. It also doesn't help that everyone is promoting a different and contradicting image of who she might or should be and what rules she should govern her life by, partly due to the scandal of her illegitimacy. These are some of the troubles facing Josephine Alibrandi, the main character of, and narrator in, the novel Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. Josephine's perspective on life and her attitude towards the influences in her life changes throughout the novel. Initially she is confused about her nationality, her social standing and, probably like any other teenage girl, she is unsure of her attractiveness. However, by the end of the novel she has realised who she is and is proud of it. "If someone comes up and asks what nationality I am, I'll look at them and say that I'm Australian with Italian blood flowing rapidly through my veins. I'll say that with pride, because it's pride that I feel"(Marchetta, 1992, p 259)

Her emotions and internal battles are made tangible to a lesser degree through the fluent and descriptive language, but obviously no amount of intimate emotions can be conveyed easily without the use of First Person Point of View. The structure of the novel is somewhat like a diary, making it seem like she is revealing her innermost thoughts and feelings, which vary and change erratically...
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