Belonging Essay

1036 Words May 11th, 2010 5 Pages
Connection is the restorative force by which individuals reaffirm or transform their identities. Ultimately, it is the ability to form meaningful and sustaining relationships that allows individuals to assess and affirm their values. Raimond Gaita’s memoir, “Romulus, My Father” (RMF), Evan Hunters short story “On the Sidewalk Bleeding’ (OTSB), and “The Oasis”, a Shark Island Documentary, explore this notion through employing the universal themes of compassion, alienation and love as they enrich characters sense of hope, significance, comfort and security- fundamental to a sense of belonging, or paradoxically lead to a sense of isolation and exclusion.

RMF explores the catalytic nature of relationships in constructing an imperative
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Most importantly these shared ideals, spawning from their “unqualified sense of common humanity”, help shape young Raimond’s perception of acceptance, as well as their aphoristic belief that “only…rigorous truthfulness could give…strength of character” – the universality of which transcends all three men’s subjective experiences to confirm their identities as part of a significant, secure relationship.

Romulus also extends this to his relationship with Milka, which is centred upon a common appreciation of honesty and compassion. This is shown through his description of her as, “not too tall…short…fat…thin”, whose accumulative juxtaposition of negations stresses his attraction to her both in appearance and “in personality” – a notion which is developed by Milka’s frank admission, “She told him she couldn’t cook…he replied it didn’t matter”. Here, along with the qualification, “his respect…was unusual in husbands of his vintage”, Milka’s assertion in “couldn’t cook” emphasises the contextual differences their relationship has from both Romulus’ previous marriage to Christine and mainstream society through the altruistic strength of its values. Ultimately accentuating the deep satisfaction and sense of comfort that they share, this is affirmed by Romulus’ assertion, “Nothing could compromise the intrinsic good of…having found each other”.

Similarly OTSB

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