Identity, Harry Potter, Romulus My Father

Topics: Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling, Hogwarts Pages: 5 (1685 words) Published: March 14, 2011
“Who am I?” is a universal question that has at least one stage or another, pried the minds of people. The quest for knowledge and shaping of our identity is aided by various influences in our lives with one of the biggest influences being our sense of belonging. The idea of belonging is significant and fundamental as it emerges from the connections made with entities such as people, places and communities. The feeling of connection or relation with these entities is formed from the perception of oneself being a concept that many desire and seek for. This idea of unity and association is explored within “Romulus My Father” by Raimond Gaita, and “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling. Both texts give an in depth exploration of the journey of self discovery, alienation and belonging revealed through the authors clever use of language techniques. “Romulus, My Father” written by Raimond Gaita is a biographical memoir delineating the life of Raimond’s father Romulus. The text exemplifies the hardships, betrayals and the events that drove Romulus to his insanity. Even in the beginning of the novel, the feeling of disconnection is already present as the association to the landscape and society that a person is residing in is a trigger that encourages a person’s sense of safety to the community. Though Romulus lived the majority of his life in Australia, he never recognised it as home as “To a European or English eye it seems desolate, and even after forty years my father could not become reconciled to it.”(p.14) Romulus does not feel a bond with the land and rather has a negative view on the landscape which is symbolic of his isolation from the Australian culture. “He longed for the generous and soft European foliage... But the eucalyptus in Barringhup, scraggy... symbols of deprivation and barrenness.”(p.14) The author, Gaita juxtaposes the European flora with positive connotations to the Australian’s with negative references to aid in clarifying Romulus’ extrication to Australia. Likewise, this feeling of disengagement to the home is also present in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is about the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his experiences, search for identity and knowledge of his parents at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The protagonist Harry Potter similarly to Romulus also feels a sense of separation to his home in the “muggle” world at 4 Privet Drive with his relatives, the Dursleys. Though living with the Dursleys, Harry is not privileged to a room and instead resides in “the cupboard under the stairs... and that was where he slept” (p.20) The Dursley’s are cruel to him and treat him as an outcast metaphorically comparing him “as though he was something very nasty that couldn’t understand them, like a slug”(p.22) Rowling uses the use of simile to show comparison of Harry to a vile creature illustrating how much the Dursleys loathed him. Even “at school Harry had no one. The Dudley’s gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy clothes and broken glasses.” (p.27) This shows Harry’s uncoupling to the human world where he is exiled of existence in which the world of magic he is loved and honoured. Both characters, Harry and Romulus, sense separation and detachment to their residential place. Their feeling of being an outsider shapes them in a way where they do not know where they stand. Filial and Familial relationship is a stepping stone where an individual can learn the genuine meaning ‘to belong’. The feeling of attachment with particular family members can determine whether an individual can correlate elsewhere. It also shapes the identity of an individual as family is linked through blood with an invisible string that ties them together shaping a person’s features to self worth. In Raimond Gaita’s memoir there is a clear indication of filial relations between Raimond and Romulus. It is initially evident in the...

Bibliography: “Romulus, My Father”
Raimond Gaita
Text Publishing Melbourne Australia
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”
J.K. Rowling
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