‘Romulus, my father’ and ‘Neighbours’

Categories: Fathers

Introduction

The concept of belonging is more complex than it first appears is a true statement and can be proven through the deconstruction of the texts ‘Romulus, my father’ and ‘Neighbours’. The meaning of belonging is generalised as a process where an individual or individuals learn to connect with other people, groups, communities and the larger world. There are several ways that proves this statement above in both texts such as not belonging at the start of each story, complications with trying to belong and then finally achieving a full individual sense of belonging in the end.

The sence of belonging and not belonging

This is the general way that belonging is achieved but is much more complex than this process above. Firstly, belonging often starts out with an individual not fitting in to a certain community or group of people. This is extremely evident in both texts and through the use of language techniques, it applies the statement exceptionally. In the text ‘Neighbours’, the new couple had just settled in to a ‘street full of European migrants’ and made them feel ‘like sojourners in a foreign land’.

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This simile explains to the audience that the young couple are alienated and still feel like foreigners in their own land.

This sense of not belonging is also evident in the text ‘Romulus, my father’ but in a more detailed and complex way. Almost instantly, the identity of the main character Romulus is questioned through the quote, ‘Romulus Gaita always considered himself a Romanian’.

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We also manage to see that he is trying to find a sense of acceptance to establish where he belongs. Even in his new home, Australia, he must gain acceptance because immigrants are not treated equally. Disconnection and separation is evident through the use of the quote ‘adjacent family camp but only Australian’s could live in it’.

These quotes already explain that the characters of both stories do not belong and they are not as ‘black and white’ as it first seems. Afterward, belonging is achieved through minor complications which ultimately resolve in a full sense of belonging. The first example of this in ‘Neighbours’ is the incident with the eating of the ducks. The first complication at the start of the story was the language barrier but this seems not existent as during the preparation of the duck the ‘newcomers found themselves shouting’.

Little incidents in the  ‘Romulus, my father’

This incident and the other main incident of the young couple in labour both conjoin in explaining how belonging is also achieved over time. Little incidents combining to achieve a complete sense of belonging are also evident in the text ‘Romulus, my father’. The first two incidents are related to build the migrant experience already evident in the text. The first of these is when Romulus sets fire to a bush to kill a snake and then when he uses his skills to save the life of Neil Mikkelson. However, it is different to ‘Neighbours’ in the way that not all incidents are building the sense of belonging in the main character.

The sense of belonging between the father and son is only achieved through the complication that his son, Raimond, is in England studying. These examples explain that minor incidents or one big complication can ultimately lead to a full achievement of belonging. Concurrently, a full sense of belonging is therefore achieved. This is evident in ‘Neighbours’ by one incident which requires a thorough deconstruction and full understanding of the text to see that there is a sense of acceptance within the community. Belonging in this story is achieved when the young man evolves and understands the generosity of the neighbours. On the Macedonian side of the fence, a small queue of bleary faces looked up, cheering, and the young man began to weep’. The young man realises that his neighbours had been there supporting the couple all night and it is this realisation that helps the man shift his perceptions of his neighbours. This is also shown in the text ‘Romulus, my father’ but is high in complexity. Romulus never really belonged to a place, ‘he never cared’ for his house but still remained happy in his own ways and beliefs. He never really fitted in to the typical Australian lifestyle.

It is only at his funeral where we see that although Romulus’ approach to life was peculiar, he still never really achieved a full sense of belonging like the young couple did in ‘Neighbours’. It is at the very end of the book, where one quote about Raimond’s eulogy summarised how exceptional the man Romulus was; ‘Every word you spoke was true… Your father saved my life’. This simple quote tells the audience that although he never had a full state of acceptance in Australia, he had many attributes, qualities and experiences that made him important to people such as Raimond and Neil Mikkelson.

Conclusion

For these reasons, it does not only require a full sense of individual belonging in the end to actually feel accepted. In conclusion, through the use of examples in both texts, it is evidently clear that belonging requires much more than just fitting in. It requires a complex deconstruction of texts to make it evidently clear that a sense of belonging is achieved. For all the reasons above, the concept of belonging is more complex than it first appears.

Cite this page

‘Romulus, my father’ and ‘Neighbours’. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/romulus-my-father-new-essay

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