Mankind has an intrinsic need to belong or have a sense of connection to someone, something or somewhere. Belonging is a universal feeling of wanting to be needed and wanted despite similarities or differences. A sense of belonging can be formed from connections made with people, places, groups, communities and the world at large.
Texts can explore many aspects of belonging. The novel, Romulus My Father by Raimond Gaita and the poem, Feliks Stryznecki by Peter Stryznecki are two such texts show the importance of a desire to belong.
The memoir Romulus my Father portrays the ways in which immigrants of 1950’s country Victoria struggled to find their place in a foreign country, from the perspective of Romulus and Raimond’s personal viewpoints of Belonging. Australia is a multi cultural land. We have had a strong migration from Europe and then Asia. In the earlier days people of a region would form communities but now they seem to have found their place amonst Australian society. Romulus has the experience of a typical first generation immigrant. He still feels for the place of his birth but tries to warm to his new surroundings. “He longed for European society, saying that he felt like a ‘prisoner’ in Australia”. Romulus has strong European morals and work ethic which is mirrored by his friend Hora, in whom he finds a connection. The isolation of Frogmore allows the immigrants to establish there own values away from the main Australian society. In this novel Gaita says “Immigrants were tolerated, but seldom given respect accordingly due.” Romulus did gain some respect in the community due to his craftsmanship and strong work ethics which amonst some gave him a common ground.
Raimond’s mother Christine on the other hand was finding the isolation very difficult. “A dead red gum stood only a hundred metres from the house, and for my mother became a symbol of her desolation.” Gaita uses the isolation of the gum tree as a symbol of his mother’s lack of...