Romulus My Father - Belonging

1451 Words Feb 14th, 2010 6 Pages
It is in human nature to strive towards a sense of Belonging, a process that incites the creation, or deterioration of a sense of personal and cultural identification. The memoir, Romulus, My Father, by Raimond Gaita; John Guare’s play, Six Degrees of Separation; and Tim Winton’s short story, Big World, from the collection, The Turning, explore the concept that Belonging is the driving force for the human condition. Each composer represents their varied perceptions of belonging in their texts, conveying that Belonging as a fundamental need we strive for in our search to create a concrete identity.

The memoir, Romulus, My Father, portrays the ways in which immigrants in 1950’s rural Victoria struggled to be accepted in a foreign society,
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Guare uses the post-modern technique of fragmentation to purposely distance the audience from the action. This technique causes the audience to immediately see the fear of rejection and isolation by society felt by the characters, provoking the audience to reflect the characters determination to be accepted.

Guares darker twist on the need to belong is represented through the central motif of the play, the Kandinsky, the two-sided painting, a metaphor for the different dimensions of a person. Guare seems to be suggesting that to belong in our modern society, we must follow the rules dictated by society and hide our true desires. This is enhanced by the characterization of Ouisa and Flan who present themselves as courteous, but expose the audience to their true intentions of striving to connect to a higher social class: “Having a rich friend is like drowning, and your friend makes life boats.” The character Paul is a symbol of this determination and desperation, creating the persona of Sidney Poitier’s son for the acknowledgement and acceptance he receives from it. He uses deception of his true identity to minimize social marginalization and fulfill his emotional need to connect. Like Romulus, Paul becomes a representation of the impact of rejection, forging multiple personalities in an attempt to connect to what he believes he deserves. This is Guare’s central irony; Paul has attempted to belong by forming these personas but they ultimately cause him

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