Belonging Essay

1048 Words5 Pages
Connection is the restorative force by which individuals reaffirm or transform their identities. Ultimately, it is the ability to form meaningful and sustaining relationships that allows individuals to assess and affirm their values. Raimond Gaita’s memoir, “Romulus, My Father” (RMF), Evan Hunters short story “On the Sidewalk Bleeding’ (OTSB), and “The Oasis”, a Shark Island Documentary, explore this notion through employing the universal themes of compassion, alienation and love as they enrich characters sense of hope, significance, comfort and security- fundamental to a sense of belonging, or paradoxically lead to a sense of isolation and exclusion.

RMF explores the catalytic nature of relationships in constructing an imperative
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The protagonist’s affectionate relationship with his girlfriend Laura, who shares a bond with Andy centred on love and compassion, acts as the equilibrium between Andy’s gang related life and his true self. The relationship provides Andy with the inner-unity required for strength or character, allowing him to challenge his mediocre life with dreams that give him purpose, and a hope that “Someday he would marry her, and they would have a lot of kids, and then they would get out of the neighbourhood”. The connotations of ‘marriage’, paired with the symbolic reference of children highlights Andy’s devotion to the notion of family and the sense of security and worth it provides. The strength of their attachment and the significance their compassionate relationship engenders, fashions a sense of emancipation for Andy, sanctioning the removal of his gang jacket “which had only one meaning.. a very simple meaning…the meaning of nothing”. The accumulative repetition and personification of the jacket substantiates it as a tangible image, symbolic of Andy’s internal conflict, and his ability to exonerate himself of it is metaphorical for the value Andy places on their relationship, further emphasising its significance in restructuring Andy’s identity and providing the sense of worth, console and hope, fundamental to a sense of belonging.

Likewise ‘The Oasis’ examines the significance of relationships in shaping

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