Narrator and Sense

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Romulus, My Father Notes

* Tone of book: Honest, blatant
* Forged sense of identity; violence, work, independence, sacrifices everything for Raimond, religion, no geographical belonging. * Evocative – unsentimental.
* Written in hindsight. Chronological.

* “My father, Romulus Gaita, always considered himself a Romanian” p.2. * “His face was as open as his character” p.6. Repeated throughout the novel. Very important. Morality, values, core. * “He felt strongly enough to have her name tattooed to his forearm and to try and shoot himself when she left him” p.8. Juxtaposition – shows extremity of feeling that Christine evoked in Romulus. * “Such was the rollercoaster of wild emotion at the time” p.8. Metaphor. Foreshadows highs and lows of their later relationship. * “She seemed incapable of taking care of me, ignoring my elementary needs of feeding and bathing” p.8. Early signs of mental illness. Tech: Incongruence. Her lack of action is not fitting to the situation of having a helpless baby – shows how affected she was by her illness. * “The eucalypts of Baringhup, scraggy except for the noble red gums on the river bank, seemed symbols of deprivation and barrenness” p.14. * “To a European or English eye it seemed desolate” p.14. No sense of belonging. Romulus’ dislocation to the landscape. Negatively emotive language. * “He asked the man who greeted new arrivals whether there were any other Romanians... He sought them out and they quickly became friends” p.14. Communication. Considers himself a Romanian. Sense of belonging begins. * “From the beginning his friendship with Hora went deeper” p.16. Metaphor. Reflects the significance of his friendship over a lifetime. * “Perhaps for good reason, or perhaps merely an expression of their prejudice...” p.16. Repetition creates uncertainty in the narrator’s tone. Low modality. * “A dead red gum stood only a hundred metres from the house and became for my mother a symbol for her desolation” p.23. A is singular. No other trees. Mental illness prevents people from belonging. * “The peppercorns to be found at almost every settlement in the area, were planted as though to mediate between local and European landscapes” p.23. Closest to European trees. He sees the life, possibility and beauty. * “Without thinking, responding with the instinct of an immigrant unused to tinder-dry conditions of an Australian summer, he set fire to the stook in order to kill the snake” p.28. Older Raimond – benefit of hindsight. Non judgemental tone. Doesn’t yet belong to the Australian landscape. * “He and others attributed his survival to my father’s prompt and sensible action” p.29. Redemption. Juxtaposition of this quote and the quote above; stories highlight not belonging. * “I doubt I would have coped without the dogs” p.30. Allows him to gain some sense of the love and stability he is missing from his mother. * “I was glad for her physical, feminine presence, which comforted me more than food” p.31. Odd for readers when juxtaposed with her neglect. Hyperbole. Reflects unconditional love Gaita has for her. * “Sometimes she was obviously and deeply depressed. Desperately lonely...” p.31. Repetition of ‘depression’ and ‘desperately’ shows empathy Gaita has for his mother’s behaviour – hindsight. Emotive language. * “She had the arresting presence of someone who experienced the world with a thoughtful intensity” p.31. Highlighted adjectives demonstrate the power Christine had over the young Gaita and her engaging personality. * “Could not support her struggle against her demons” p.32. Metaphor for her struggle with her mental illness. Sarcastic tone shows inadequacy of awareness of Christine’s illness. Reinforces the enormous barrier of illness to any kind of normal existence. * “In that vast landscape with only crude wire fences and a rough track to mark a human impression on it she appeared forsaken. She looked...
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