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The Perception Of Belonging Depend English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1875 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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A persons perception of belonging do depend on the context. In this case Perceptions of belonging is evidently recognised in reference to Raimond Gaitas memoir ‘Romulus, My Father’ and Gabriele Muccino inspirational film, based on the biography by Chris Garner The pursuit of Happiness. A strong relationship between a father and son can demonstrate a perception of belonging. In both texts both the fathers enclose an unconditional love for their child and thus has to play the role of the mother figures. Both mothers are unable to support their child and has left the prospect, for that reason both fathers contribute to their sons lives to help their child and them self to feel a sense of belonging into wider society.

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In Romulus my father, Raimond and Romulus relationship reflect the unconditional love of a father and child. Romulus did everything he could to provide Raimond a secure and affectionate environment, and therefore “[they] lived contentedly at Frogmore.” All though at times they found it difficult and challenging to survive,” [they] seldom quarrelled and when [Romulus] punished, [Raimond] usually accepted it as just.” This revels the enormous love/bond felt involving a father and child and the significance of strength. In this perception, Raimond knows that “[his] [father] devoted care [for him]” Raymond’s perceptions of belonging is through a trusted relationship, thorough the one person he can count on, trust and respect which is his father. Raimond articulates that “[he] remember[s] his strong, bare, sun darkened arms on either side of [him] as [he] sat on the petrol tank…the authority with which he spoke… the sight of his muscular arms [protecting him]” This illustrates a exceedingly realistic and symbolic representation of a compassionate and protective father. The arms around him also symbolises as a protective barrier that keeps him from harm’s way and secure in the strong arms of his father. It further emphasis the close bond between the two and therefore influence a very optimistic impact on the belonging of the individual who in this case is Raimond. Raimondi’s perception of belonging is exceeding well done here as the text has demonstrated that even through the harsh world and conditions they live in, Raimond doesn’t find it hard to belong with his family. This goes the same with Romulus outlook, Romulus lives in a new world that is foreign to him, yet, with the love for his son, nothing can change his viewpoint with his family. This perception is Romulus personal outlook and circumstance.

Correspondingly in the film by Gabriele Muccino The pursuit of Happiness, demonstrates a strong sense of belonging due to the father and son relationship being evidently strong and secure. This is evident in the basketball scene where Chris gives a exceedingly affecting and meaningful speech on a concept he clearly and strongly believes in. Chris advises his son “Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something…If you’ve got a dream, you’ve got to protect it…If you want somethin’, go get it.” At this point of the film both father and son are at a very low point in their life as things are not turning around in a positive way, however, even though they are in a appalling situation Christopher (the son) says small statements to his father such as ” I trust you” or “you’re a good papa” that provides strength in the relationship. The simplicity of the statement revels the enormous love felt between father and child and therefore shows how stable they are in an unstable environment. This is one perception of belonging that both father and the son face in the world, a sense of belonging to each other. Christopher’s perception is full of mixed feelings. For one, it is hard for him to know what is happening at this time of period as everything turns around for his family. His mum leaving him, his father and himself constantly shifting around trying to find a place to sleep. Christopher’s perception of belonging, is therefore mixed with the sense of belonging to his father, as his father protects him from the outside world. This is equivalent to Chris as he only has his son with him, and in his perception, in order for his child and himself to belong to something , he has to strive to find a secure place for themselves.

For Raimond, living without a mother, felt like he was being “neglect[ed]”, yet Raimond’s unaffected fondness for his neglectful mother, revels the strength of love amongst mother and son. Despite the fact that Raimond barely sees Christine, he still portrays her in an pretentious tone declaring “[he] was glad of her physical feminie presence, which comforted [him] more than food”. This statement is a hyperbole as it reflects the unconditional love Raimond has for his mother, despite the fact that she was hardly a mother to him. Raimond sates that Christine “seemed incapable of taking care of me.” This statement shows that because she cannot fulfil the basic functions of a mother, she is never really going to be fully accepted into the family. Hence why Romulus takes on the role of being both the parents. This is parallel in regards towards Romulus and Christine’s relationship as after the migration to Australia their relationships deteriorates, however Raimond quotes that “his father must have been heartbroken by his unfaithful, troubled, vivacious and unfaithful wife.” For both Raimond and Romulus, Christine has caused several sorts of dilemma in their life, however, their connection towards Christine shows their unconditional love for her. This is their perception of belonging in regards to a feminie presence in their life. For Raimond perception, Christine will always be his mother and for Romulus perception, Christine will always be his first love and his first wife. It is evident that at times the word “belonging” to each other cannot be used with Christine as she “neglect[ed]” them, however, both father and sons perception of belonging do engage their mother/wife. This is their perception of belonging in regards to a feminine presence in their life.

On the contrary, in The pursuit of happiness, Christopher’s sense of belonging with his mother is that he knows he loves his mother yet, at this point of the story Christopher doesn’t know whether she belongs in the family picture anymore as he hasn’t heard from her n a long period of time and doesn’t know where she is. He always questions her disappearance and asks his father “When’s mum coming back”. He blames himself for his mother leaving and asks if ” mum [left] because of [him]” and like the good dad Chris is he says “mum left because of mum and you didn’t have anything to do with that.” Christopher perception of belonging to a mother figure is gone for the time period. Therefore his connection towards his mother is lost and barley holding on. Christopher’s perception on his mother is not belonging to her anymore. So perception of belonging do depend on the context as if the character in the text doesn’t belong, so therefore he has no sense of connection towards his mother.

When Romulus migrated to Australia the first thing he did to belong is to seek out for other Romanians. “He sought them out and they quickly became friends.” This reflects the common experience of creating a sense of belonging in wider society. In the text the reader is exposed to the Australian landscape, which has helped expose the emotions of belonging felt by Romulus. The use of juxtaposing in “through the landscape is one of rare beauty, to a European or English eye it seems desolate…He longed for the generous and soft European foliage.” emphasis the unique, yet harsher environment found in Australia. This quote shows the lack of belonging to the country and environment and therefore the perception of not belonging to the new environment is shown throughout the text. This shows the vast consequences he has risked because of his wife’s decision of migrating to Australia. Although Romulus perspective of the new environment is harsh, Raimond’s perspective of the new environment is not as harsh as he has settled into the country since he was a little boy. The farmhouse where Raimond and Romulus lived in was the most fundamental place for which they both develop a sense of belonging from and to, because the house offers “the hope that [their] family might be reunited.” However this was a mislead hope as Christine “could not settle in a dilapidated farmhouse in a landscape that highlighted her isolation.” So therefore when Christine left “[Romulus and Raimond] lived contentedly at Frogmore.” In both Raimond and Romulus perspective, this place created a sense of belonging as they found the area a great place and had felt that they belonged into wider society.

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Likewise, throughout the film of The pursuit of happiness, Chris and Christopher did not feel as though they belonged in wider society as they have not been able to settle into one place that they can entitle their own. However, at the very end of the film when Chris gets the job of a stockbroker a symbolic motif was shown. When Chris was offered the job of a stocks man it really confirmed he belonged as he walked amongst the crowd of works men and women. Chris states that “this part of [his] life…this little part… is called happiness.” This quote said over a voice over, was one of Chris’s turning points as the scene showed that after numerous months of hard work, sacrifice and determination, he finally can fit into wider society. Chris’s perception of belonging has drastically changed over the course of a several months. His final perception of belonging is belonging to something bigger than himself, something he can hold on to and provide a better world for his son.

In the memoir of “Romulus my farther” and the inspirational film The pursuit of happiness shows the diverse perceptions of belonging a father and a child has on life. Their perception are formed within their personal, historical and social context. In “Romulus my father” Romulus showed courage and strength to live in a new foreign world where everything was the opposite to where he used to live and these qualities are what helped him shape his sons perception of belonging. It can be said that a journey like this is similar in regards to Chris’s life where he found liberation through the pursuit of happiness. His hard work and long term determination lead him to a life full of happiness. This is what both fathers did to show a perception of belonging, they both provided their son what every son should have a sense of belonging in the world, for that reason, perception of Belonging do depend on context.


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