Romulus My Father Notes Essay

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Romulus My Father: Values & Belonging

Romulus values education and learning, but sadly, only completed primary school. He is a tragic figure from the very beginning:
3: ...an inefficient postal service, however, prevented his application [for high school scholarship examinations] from arriving on time. He cried bitterly, not because of lost employment prospects, but because his love of learning would never be fulfilled.

Romulus values European landscape – he does not find serenity, and does not belong to the landscape:
14: Though the landscape is one of rare beauty, to a European or English eye it seems desolate, and even after more than forty years my father could not become reconciled to it. He longed for the generous and
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172: Suffering ennobles... Some kinds of wisdom, however, the kinds that show themselves not only in thoughts, but in the integrity of an authoritatively lived life – are given only to those who have suffered deep and long. His affliction gave authority to much of what my father said etc

Romulus’ moral code – his sense of what is real and important was shattered after Lydia’s letter of rejection:
122: Only someone with an extraordinary sense of the reality of the ethical could be so shaken by a sense of evil, and my father was such a person.

Vacek’s institutionalisation shows the danger of conformity:
143: ... police took him to the Ballarat psychiatric hospital... over time he became dependent on institutional living so that, even when he was free to leave, he preferred to stay, and remained there for the rest of his life.
Here is an argument against belonging – belonging becomes a prison.

Hora & Romulus enjoyed an enduring friendship... Romulus remained a noble, heroic man despite his illness:
146: Hora knew that, despite his illness, there was still no one who remained as steadfast as my father in his disdain of superficialities, in his honesty and in his concern for others.

Romulus believes in keeping one’s word at all costs – he pays for Lydia’s family to migrate:
149: Their fares were paid not by Lydia and her husband, but by my father. He had promised to do it years before, and it was inconceivable that he would go back on his word

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