Romulus My Father, Gattaca - Belonging

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EVALUATE HOW BELONGING IS EXPLORED THROUGH ‘ROMULUS MY FATHER’ & ONE RELATED TEXT

An individual’s ability to belong is based on their capacity to reconcile their values to a larger group identity; whereas a failure to connect, due to a disparity in values, results in isolation. Raimond Gaita’s memoir Romulus, My Father, highlights the centrality of values in connecting through the contrasting experiences of Raimond and Romulus where Romulus’ failure to belong is based on his refusal to acculturate. In contrast, Andrew Niccol’s dystopian film, Gattaca, shows that an individual’s refusal to accept that his values are irreconcilable to society ultimately results in the expansion of both the definitions of belonging and connections being forged. Both texts, despite differing contexts, are united in their depiction of connections being based on desire.

In establishing a sense of belonging, connection is based upon an individual’s ability to synchronise their values with the values of a larger entity. Gaita’s titular character, Romulus, subscribes to an outdated European ethic, requiring “karacter”, resulting in his refusal to conform to a foreign Australian society. Like the “Red gum that stood only a hundred meters from the house becoming a symbol of desolation”, Romulus gains no sense of connection to the Australian environment. His supporting of a family who are “destitute and yielding to the temptations of prostitution in the instance of a need for survival” exemplify his kindred nature in its capacity to understand ones intrinsic need to survive. Roumuls’ failure to attain a scholarship due to a “refusal to join communist groups” demarcates his clear-cut black and white morality from the greater community he perceives as without morals, disabling his ability to connect. In the opposite manner, Raimond is able to accept Australian values and despite contradiction to the teachings of his childhood he is able to successfully result integrate with the...
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