Belonging; Romulus My Father & Boy Running (Russell Drysdale)

2) How do composers show us the value of belonging, or indeed not belonging, in a variety of situations? In your response, refer to your prescribed text and two other texts of your choosing.

Belonging is an integral concept that shapes an individuals perception and lifestyle. Through the memoir, ‘Romulus, My Father’ by Raimond Gaita, the poem, ‘Outcast’ by Claude McKay and the visual image, ‘Boy Running’ by Russel Drysdale, a range of visual and language techniques are used to explore a variety of situations which show us the value of belonging and not belonging.

In ‘Romulus, My Father’, Romulus and his family immigrates from Yugoslavia to Australia. As soon as Romulus arrives and settles into the immigration camp at Baringhup, he asks the immigration officer if ‘there are any other Romanians’. As Romulus always ‘considered himself a Romanian’, he tried to find people who shared the same cultural background as he did. When he was told that there were two Romanian brothers named Hora and Pantelimon, he ‘quickly sought them out and they became friends’. By doing this, Romulus establishes belonging through friendships and shared experience as they share the same cultural background and would understand each others language, practices and lifestyle. They would also understand what each other are going through as they are both European immigrants and would need to adapt to the Australian culture and landscape from their previous life in Yugoslavia. Thus, this sense of belonging through relationships and shared experience affects Romulus because it provides him a sense of security and understanding for support during the transition of immigration from Yugoslavia to Australia.

Also, when Romulus first sees the ‘dead red gums’ and scraggly Australian foliage, he finds it ‘desolate’ and ‘longs for the generous and soft European foliage’. As his perception is shaped by the European landscape he has grown up to know, it makes it difficult to accept the new...