Essay on Belonging- 'Romulus, My Father' and 'Avatar'

1193 Words Oct 25th, 2012 5 Pages
Belonging essay
Belonging emerges from a feeling of connection to something, it may be; a place, a person or group of people, communities or even an object. These connections may be enriched by feelings of security or challenged by feelings of insecurity, but either way belonging shapes the way we all live our lives. This is represented thoroughly in both ‘Romulus my Father’ by Raimond Gaita and ‘Avatar’ by James Cameron, both texts show that belonging or not belonging is an unavoidable activity and may take many different forms, some obvious and others hidden.
‘Romulus My Father’ opens with an immediate sense of insecurity and danger, ‘pitchfork held tightly in both hands, knowing that he would probably kill his uncle…’ (pg. 1) with
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The same can be said for Romulus when he arrives in his new home, he is given menial labour jobs that do not suit his specialised set of skills ‘this unusually gifted man was set to work with a pick and a shovel’ (pg. 16). Romulus and the rest of the European migrants are generally seen as inferior, in contrast to ‘Avatar’ where the local population, the Na’vi, who actually belong to the planet, are seen as ‘savages’ and treated with little to no respect. The humans have no interest in diplomacy with the Na’vi, only in the resources of the land, ‘it’s why we’re here, it’s the only reason’. The migrants from ‘Romulus My Father’ on the other hand, are invited to come to Australia and work; this creates a mutually beneficial relationship between the migrants and the Australians so the migrants feel secure and feel as though they belong.
Romulus, Christine and Raimond as well as Jake have a point where they are in purgatory between belonging to one place and another. Romulus and Raimond share this when they first arrive in Australia and no longer belong to Europe but have not yet begun to belong in Australia either, this eventually fades as they become more and more accustomed to the new environment, Christine however, never truly re-settles and begins to belong to Australia or her own identity, she cannot control herself and begins to lose her mind, this eventually leads to her suicide.

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