“As Individual’s interaction with others and the world them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging”
“As human beings, a feeling of belonging is vital to the well being and self esteem of the individual, but a lack of connection, or rejection can cause instability and other negative repercussions”. As stated by Aldo Leopold, an individual’s sense of belonging is either enhanced or restrained from the connections made with entities such as people, places and communities. The feeling of connection with these entities are formed through one self's own perception and of others, as well as by the world around them through historical, social and cultural context, and their growth to individuality. In both texts, “Romulus My Father” by Raimond Gaita, and “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, it is clearly evident of the contrasting effects both inside and outside influences have when depicting one’s self identity, and this is clearly seen through the themes of individuality and racial prejudice/discrimination. Raimond Gaita’s memoir; “Romulus My Father”, conveys the personal past recollections of Raimond and his family in new country Australia, and explores how relationships, places and historical context can both have positive and negative effects on each character’s growth and belonging. Similarly, Harper Lee’s film; “To Kill A Mockingbird” portrays a both father and lawyer, Atticus Finch, defending a black man against an undeserved rape charge in an area of racial discriminatory, as well as his kids against prejudice, and towards individuality. Correspondingly, both texts explore the concepts of a sense of belonging being both enriched and limited by relationships and place, however, through contrasting events, characters, settings and language/film techniques, portray differing perceptions of the same concept. Thus, Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Raimond Gaita’s “Romulus My Father”, through contrasting textual features, portray similar concepts of how an individual’s sense of belonging can be both positively and negatively influenced with other relationships, and the world around them.
An individual’s connection with the world around them can ultimately shape a positive step towards a sense of belonging. Similarly, in both texts, “Romulus My Father” and “To Kill A Mockingbird”, both authors explore the notions of one’s experiences through place towards individuality. Throughout Raimond Gaita’s memoir, the struggle of sharing traditional family perspectives as well as your own is distinctly conveyed, as whilst Romulus is still very attached to the Romanian ways of life, Raimond is ready to become an individual. This is clearly portrayed through an anecdote when Raimond becomes conscious of his lack of belonging to the farm boys, being “the only boy in the area who didn’t kill rabbits” and with this, decided to take his father’s rifle and to shoot the rabbits in order to have a sort of acceptance in his community (p.60-62). However, when Raimond reaches the hill, “for the first time in his life, he was really alive to beauty, receiving a kind of shock from it”. Usually sharing his father’s perspectives on the traditional Romanian landscape, it is seen through this anecdote, Raimond’s keenness to have his own interpretation of the land, and not a reflection of his father’s. “But now, for me, the key to the beauty of the native trees lay in the light which so sharply delineated them against a dark blue sky”. Through Gaita’s use of evocative description, the audience is visually drawn into Raimond’s appreciation of the landscape, as he becomes astonished and overwhelmed by the outside environment. Further enhancing his changing perspectives of the world around him, Gaita expresses, “It was as though God had taken me to the back of his workshop and shown me something really special”. Through the use of a metaphor, the readers are not only let into the landscape’s beauty to Raimond’s sight, but as well as...
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