TO LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI
The novel Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta (1993), is about a young 16 year old girl named Josephine Alibrandi trying to find herself in her final year of high school. It shows high and lows throughout the novel with Josie finding her father and starting a relationship with him, to losing her close friend John Barton from suicide. There are many themes in the novel such as Family, Relationships, Search for identity and MULTICULTURALISM.
The narrative conventions seen in the novel Looking for Alibrandi have shaped my response to the theme of MULTICULTURALISM seen in the novel.
In the novel, MULTICULTURALISM IS expressed through characterization. For instance, Anna is one of Josie's friends who are from a different culture. There is also Seraphina who is Italian like Josephine, and whose father "… thinks she is the Virgin Mary." Lastly there is Lee, an Australian who is a bit of a rebel who "…. Thinks its cool to come to school with a hangover."
Seraphina is Josie's best friends who do everything together. Because Josie and Sera and so similar in terms of cultural background they understand each other more and the issues to do with their culture and acceptance associated with it. Anna is a very sweet and kind girl, but doesn't always follow with conversations that Josie and Sera talk about, and seems like she is in her own world most of the time.
MULTICULTURALISM is also seen in the Plot as a lot of the novel is based around Josie's Italian culture and Heritage. Multicultural Australia has many stories of people struggling to establish a sense of identity Josephine Alibrandi is one of them. She sees herself as stuck in between two cultures where she wants to be "…free and think for myself. Not as an Australian and not as an Italian and not as in between." This novel is the story of her search for identity and the events and conflicts expressed by the Author' climax in Josephine finally coming to terms with her cultural heritage when she says " Because finally I understood." She now understood why her Nonna is the way she was and why her culture is the way it is.
The novel shows MULTICULTURALISM so that the reader experiences her feelings and what it is like being in a multicultural community. This also shows us that many schools in Australia are very culturally diverse. The Authors attitude towards this is very positive as seen in the novel. When Josie talks about her friends and their cultures it shows us that she seems to accept different cultures. The world of the novel is a microcosm of multicultural Australia. We are told by Josephine about her Nonna coming to Australia and how her Nonna told her ".. How hard it is for me… trying to fit into a culture that doesn't want you there.." This closeness of community obviously has its down side with Josie feeling that " … 30 years on and we're still trying to fit in as ethnics and we're still trying to fit the ethnics of Australians." It is not until the end of the novel that Josie can come to terms with her world and accept it. Her acceptance helps the reader to see the color and variety in MULTICULTURALISM.
The Narrative conventions from this theme have shaped my response to the theme of MULTICULTURALISM as it has shown me the diversity of other cultures within Josie's community, and how multicultural Australia in particular Sydney was when the book was written in 1993. Character's behaviors within the novel have helped me to determine my emotions regarding multiculturalism within the novel. I have felt this through experiencing every characters feeling's toward each other and their diverse cultures. Although this search is outside my personal experience, Marchetta has written Josie's experiences as clearly that I can begin to understand how alienating Multicultural Australia could be.
Multiculturalism in the novel Looking For Alibrandi, emphasizes that acceptance within different cultures is sometimes initiated by experience or upbringing. Living in a community where MULTICULTURALISM is accepted can dramatically impact on a person's future acceptance of other people and their cultural backgrounds. Josephine coming from an Italian Background has helped her to accept other cultures within her school, in her relationships and in the community, this is because she has many traditions within her culture and has suffered some bullying and teasing of this, making her accept others more. These perspectives are highlighted in the text by the specific narrative conventions characterization and plot which help shape my response by drawing me in, to become closer to Josephine's character and putting me in a place where I share her powerful emotions.
As a reader, I feel as though I followed with Josephine, experiencing her emotions, anger and other struggles within her culture. I feel as though I have been along for the ride with Josie experienced sadness, acceptance, happiness, love and a sense of belonging.