Belonging Essay example

746 Words Sep 27th, 2010 3 Pages
Belonging is a complex perception informed by an individual’s understanding of their own identity, and their connections with other people and places. As such it is an intensely personal and subjective concept; Raimond Gaita’s memoir ‘Romulus, My Father’ represents belonging as a perception closely interrelated with one’s identity and wellbeing. Similarly, Penn’s 2007 film ‘Into the Wild’ and Judith Wright’s poem ‘Nigger’s Leap, New England’ explore the wider significance of belonging on a socio-cultural and national scale.

. Gaita represents this concept in his memoir through the contrasting connections experienced by Gaita’s family with the landscape. “In that vast landscape...she appeared forsaken” uses a detached narratorial style
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Gaita uses first-person language to highlight the importance of a connection with the landscape.

Similarly, Nigger’s Leap represents the importance of belonging to a place and space in terms of one’s personal and national identity. “Night floods us suddenly as history That has sunk many islands in its good time” – transitive imagery of night is used as an allegory for Australia’s dark past. The alienation of Australian’s from their cultural heritage is shown to compromise both personal and national identity – “Now must we measure, Our days by nights, Our tropics by their poles”. The use of collective pronouns involves the responder in this, reflecting the significance of...

Furthermore, Wright associates the lack of understanding of Australia’s cultural identity with postcolonial issues of reconciliation. This contextual issue lends significance to her evocative empathetic language “And there they lie that were ourselves writ strange”.

The nature of socio-cultural belonging is explored in Gaita’s memoir. Romulus as a migrant is unable to understand and thereby integrate with Australian cultural and social values. His own valuing of “karacter” often places him at odds with the Australian society. This is emphasised through the term “New Australian” which uses capitalisation to highlight “the delighted double-mindedness with which some Australians discovered multiculturalism”. Romulus’ social

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