“Understanding nourishes belonging. A lack of understanding prevents it”
Belonging may refer to an individual’s ability to form a connection an be a community or an individual. The extent to which an individual belongs is determined an understanding of an individuals personal identity which results in personal contentment. This sense of self worth is depicted in Raimond Gaitas 1998 memoir Romulus, My Father through the portrayal of the post-war immigrant experience with challenges against acceptance and understanding of the fierce barren Australian landscape. Similarly, Anthony Mingela’s 1999 confronting film The Talented Mr Ripley also exemplifies the enduring notions of understanding of self through Tom Ripley’s desperate search.
In Romulus, both Romulus and Christine find it hard to gain a strong connection with the harsh landscape of the Australian outback. Their inability to do so results in their alienation from society and a sense of self worth. Romulus, a post war migrant has brought over preconceived ideas and notions about what his perceptions are of the Australian culture and outback. Romulus acknowledges his reluctance to accept or understand the new dominant culture in the self-confessional declaration declares he “always considered himself Romanian”. “to a European or English eye it seems desolate, and even after 40 years my father could not become reconciled to it”. Romulus’ reluctance even after 40 years to appreciate, the Australian Landscape symbolizes Romulus displacement and dislocation from the dominant Australian culture. Raimonds pessimistic emotive language reveals the sons frustration with the father. “The Eucalypts of Baringhup…seemed symbols of deprivation and barrenness”. Gaitas use of symbolism highlights Romulus and Christine’s inability to connect with the Australian landscape through their negative pessimistic attitude. Ultimately their lack of acceptance results in their poor understanding of the inferior landscape...
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