An individual’s identify defines their ability to belong, thus one’s interactions which develop a personal identity are integral in belonging. This concern is highlighted through Raimond Gaita’s memoir Romulus My Father which explores the implications of personal interactions on self-identity and hence implications on sense of belonging. Similarly, Franz Kafka’s novel Metamorphosis explores a man’s altered identity as a result of personal interactions and the subsequent result on the man’s sense of belonging.
The environment is fundamental in the development to which an individual forges a personal identity, and thus is essential in enhancing or restricting one’s belonging. In Romulus, Romulus’s lack of identity hinders his belonging, as he is unable to forge his identity in Australia. Romulus, having “always considered himself Romanian,” struggles to identity himself with Australian landscape. “He longed for the generous and soft European foliage, but the eucalypts of Baringhup…seemed symbols of deprivation and bareness” The use of symbolism highlights Romulus’s lack of identity in Australia, to which is attributed to the landscape. The “deprivation and bareness” of the land reflects Romulus’s inability to connect, and thus his lack of identity in Australia. The juxtaposition of the Australian landscape to the European landscape further emphasise Romulus’ lack of identity as he connects only to the “beautiful trees of Europe” and fails to embrace the Australian landscape. The environment is crucial in development of one’s personal identity and hence crucial in belonging, thus Romulus’s inability to connect, and consequently his lack of identity limits his experience of belonging.
Similarly, the interaction with environment in shaping a sense of identity is further explored in Romulus. Throughout the memoir Romulus fails to understand the environment, and as a result doesn’t develop an identity. “…He set fire to the stook in order to kill the snake....
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