Belonging emerges from a feeling of connection to something, it may be; a place, a person or group of people, communities or even an object. These connections may be enriched by feelings of security or challenged by feelings of insecurity, but either way belonging shapes the way we all live our lives. This is represented thoroughly in both ‘Romulus my Father’ by Raimond Gaita and ‘Avatar’ by James Cameron, both texts show that belonging or not belonging is an unavoidable activity and may take many different forms, some obvious and others hidden.
‘Romulus My Father’ opens with an immediate sense of insecurity and danger, ‘pitchfork held tightly in both hands, knowing that he would probably kill his uncle…’ (pg. 1) with Romulus knowing that he did not belong in this place he fled for safety, similarly, in ‘Avatar’ the opening scene starts with the space ship nearing the alien planet of Pandora, far from home on Earth, heading into the unknown with no notions of security. Neither text starts with commonly relatable situations for the responder limiting our understanding of the characters feelings of their situations.
Both texts carry a theme of migration and therefore show feelings of not belonging to place or culture, Romulus, Christine and Raimond migrate to Australia from Europe, Jake migrates from Earth to Pandora. In both cases, language forms barriers to belonging and the lack of mutual understanding causes tensions between groups. In ‘Romulus My Father’, the migration to Australia is chosen to begin a better life, whereas in ‘Avatar’ the migration to Pandora emerges from the death of Jake’s twin brother Tommy, ‘One life ends, another begins’ and is seen as an opportunity to create financial security, ‘the pay is good, very good’ and also because he was ‘sick of doctors telling me what I couldn’t do’, but even as he takes his brothers place he has a feeling of being out of place, ‘Tommy was the scientist, not me’, ’I don’t need you, I need