SIGNIFICANT FACTORS THAT SHAPE IDENTITIES
The most significant factors that shaped identities in "Romulus, My Father" were cultural heritage and connections between individuals. The memoir paints a picture of a true community where every individual is totally accepted no matter their colour, creed mental stability or lack thereof is only possible where each individual is true to themselves, "especially as being truthful about one's identity" to each other, arising from social, cultural, political and historical contexts. In RMF, culture is seen to transcend strict parameters. For example, Romulus “always considered himself Romanian” even though he was from Yugoslavia in actuality. The simile of “he felt like a ‘prisoner’ in Australia” shows Romulus’ feelings of isolation and explains why “he still longed, and longed all his life, for the European conviviality.” Romulus’ relationships with others of similar backgrounds aptly demonstrates the importance of a strong sense of cultural identity in order for meaningful interaction, between himself and Hora, and also Milka, the ‘Yugoslav divorcee’. Hora and Romulus’ “lifelong friendship” explored the inclusive nature of such shared cultural experiences. Perhaps due to common migrant experience, they had a similar character code; “Hora…remained as steadfast as my father in his disdain for superficialities” This deeper sharing and understanding of cultural values allowed a profound sense of connection to develop, allowing their friendship to withstand the test of Romulus’ mental illness. Romulus’ “respect for her [Milka’s] independence was unusual” reflects the compatible nature of self-identity and cultural identity. Because of this ideal community, Romulus does not have to change his identity or values, which are commonly at odds with everyone, in order to find connections with others through their “sense of common humanity”. Gaita portrays Romulus as someone “who loved being with other people” and was able to find...
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