The struggle to belong and find one’s place is significant in the lives of some people. In what ways is this represented in your prescribed text and ORT? PHOEBE ATKINSON
A person’s basic human need to belong to people, places and circumstances can fuel many of their actions throughout their life. For some people a sense of belonging can be difficult to obtain. The struggle to belong is represented in many ways in the 1998 memoir, ‘Romulus, My Father’ by Raimond Gaita. Through Gaita’s employment of various writing techniques and his recollection of past events and adversities, the reader becomes aware of the many struggles of the characters, particularly to belong to the Australian culture and landscape. In the 2001 short story ‘Mate’, by Kate Grenville, this struggle is again represented through intertextual references, dialogue and tone.
Romulus Gaita’s struggle to belong is evident from an early age. “His father died when he was an infant’ (p.2) and he regularly changed living circumstances between living with his mother and his grandparents. These changes denied Romulus the opportunity to develop a sense of belonging within normal family dynamics. This may be why he tried so hard to establish a strong sense of family for Raimond. Romulus’ belief in family bonds is made evident especially through his urging for Raimond to seek out his sisters Barbara and Susan. Romulus “believed that for brother and sister not to know of each other’s whereabouts, let alone existence, was so profoundly against the order of things that it constituted a metaphysical damage to their lives.” (p.193). This emotive language describes how Romulus felt that not belonging to a family unit was extremely damaging.
Raimond never particularly showed any interest in finding his sisters, even stating that he had “...no sense of extended family...” (p.192). This nonchalant attitude towards developing ties between his family may have been caused by Christine’s neglect of Raimond,...
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