Essay- Community and Society
Belonging is a paradoxical concept illustrating an individual’s sense of inclusions and exclusion simultaneously. This is evident in Raimond Gaita’s memoir Romulus My father as the individuals Romulus, Raimond and Christine experience the dynamic changes evident in the concept of belong to place, society and community. Armin Greder also explores the fluid and dynamic nature of belonging through his picture book ‘The Island’ through the isolation of the protagonist within the confinements of the island. The inclusion or exclusion from a community is shaped by human prejudices and tolerances. The biographical examination of Romulus’ life with in the text RMF, illustrates his rejection and acceptance within the community of Baringhup. Romulus’ immigrant status shows the division between the new immigrants and the Australians, as the immigrants are forced into a camp. This camp offered shelter and food, though it also offered an opportunity for belonging through shared experiences and cultures, “He asked the man who greeted new arrivals whether there were any other Romanians… He sought them out and they quickly greeted.” Although unaccepted by the Australians, Romulus is able to find other immigrants who he is able to connect with and form relationships, creating a family society between them. Through Romulus’ adoption of the Australian name “Jack” he attempts to connect to the social milieu of Baringhup though impeded by his unfamiliar morals and values which are not accepted by the Australian community. The strong prejudices of the Australian community are evident in the event of the fire, when Romulus attempts to scare the snake out of the grass through setting alight of the grass. This event causes the exclusion of Romulus in the community “responding with the instinct of an immigrant… he set fire to the stook…” showing the intolerance of the community and emphasising the belief that he (Romulus) will never be accepted in the...
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