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Looking for Alibrandi Essay

“I’ll run one day. Run for my life. To be free and think for myself. Not as an Australian and as an Italian and not as an inbetween. I’ll run to be emancipated.” The novel ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ explores the senior years of Josephine “Josie” Alibrandi with her struggle in forming her identity, falling in love with Jacob Coote and the unexpected arrival of her father Michael Andretti. Through each of these important ideas the character of Josie, Jacob and Michael, grow to understand and achieve their emancipation.

Being faced with hardships in life in life result in understanding of identity and knowledge. The character of Josie in the novel ‘Looking for Alibrandi is exposed to the secret of Nonna Katia’s secret affair. “Our lives, just like our names are lies.” Through the use of first person narration we are open to the frustration and confusion Josie is contemplating. “I’ve figured out that is doesn’t matter whether Im Josephine Andretti, who was as Alibrandi, who should have been a Stanford, who may never be a Coote.” This dialogue displays the maturity and understanding Josie receives in her identity and understanding of her emancipation. Through this momentous challenge the character now realises their freedom.

Furthermore, Josie immaturity lead her to believe that one day she would be emancipated. “I’ll run one day. Run for my life. To be free and think for myself. Not as an Australian and as an Italian and not as an inbetween. I’ll run to be emancipated.” This dialogue displays the childlike behaviour Josie has lost on the outlook of her life. Through the novel, her self-knowledge grew as she stated, “My emancipation didn’t happen like I’d expected it to.” Through this first person narration the understanding of being a mature adult was shown towards Josie. Overcoming challenges allows the self-growth of an individual.

When a character is faces with a hardship, the way in which they deal with it allows them to grow in themselves. Jacob Coote shared a romantic relationship with Josie which opened his out look on life. “I have never had to go out with an ethnic girl before.” Through this dialogue the audience is confronted with the different cultures and views Jacob believes compared to Josie. “I want all the things in life that John Barton wanted but he was too scared to step out of his circle. But I cant do that with you.” The use of this dialogue clearly makes evident the maturity Jacob has gone through in undertaking his relationship with Josie. A characters self-knowledge is pushed to the limits through challenges.

The confrontation of events allows growth through self-worth and family. Josie’s father, Michael Andretti revealed himself unexpectedly with no idea that he had a daughter. Through anger and confusion, both Josie and Michael are faced with hardships. “How dare you think that I want to be in your life!” The use of dialogue supports the frustration and hurt the character Josie is experiencing. Throughout the novel, the relationship between Michael and grows to a completely opposing, supporting and caring one. “I’d be so proud to be an Andretti…Dad.” Through this dialogue, it supports Michael and Josie’s discovering of their identity and outlook on life. Freedom is depicted from many struggles resulting in self discovery and self-worth.

From your emancipation, to hidden family secrets, to an understanding of love, to discovering your father, all of these important undertakings result in self-knowledge and identity. Josephine Alibrandi, Jacob Coote and Michael Andretti are all characters of “Looking for Alibrandi” by Melina Marchetta who were not afraid to confront challenges within their lives.


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