Looking for Alibrandi (Belonging)
Looking for Alibrandi – Essay
Adaptation is something that happens and it can’t be stopped. It can either conclude in a negative or positive way. Some people can’t handle the adjustment and they can suffer severe consequences. Others can handle the adjustment and they achieve a personal growth within themselves. In the compelling novel ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ written by Melina Marchetta, Josephine Alibrandi is a typical immature teenager, struggling to deal with the responsibilities and cultural pressures place upon her by her peers and family.
Josephine Alibrandi the seventeen protagonist of Marchetta’s narrative, tells the story of her final year of high school in an intimate and emotive fashion, through Marchetta’s utilisation of first person narration. She feels trapped between two cultures, that of the ‘old’ Italy and the ‘new’ Australia. “I’ll run to one day…to be free and think for myself. Not as an Australian and not as an Italian...I’ll run to be emancipated.” She asserts the motifs of running and enslavement a potent image of how Josie feels trapped and that she must adapt to this life, lest she be doomed to ‘run’ forever.
‘Tomato day is a traditional Italian day when the whole family comes together to make ‘spaghetti sauce’ to eat. Josie refers to this day as ‘National Wog Day’ and is ashamed /embarrassed on this day as she quotes using hyperboles “Oh god, if anyone ever found out about this I’d die.” At the start of ‘tomato day’, Josie thinks the whole day is a waste of time and doesn’t recognise the day as a significant Italian tradition. “I can’t understand why we can’t go…And buy Leggo’s or Paul Newman’s special sauce.” But by the end of the day, after hearing what grief her Nonnas (grandmother) went through, that it is a traditional day were the whole family could be together to celebrate their culture “…A tradition that I probably will never let go of either, simply because like religion, culture is nailed into you so deep you