Chaning Perspectives

Gaita displays various themes which allow him to convey an understanding of belonging through the use of perspective.
An important theme in Romulus, My Father is the fact that Raimond came from a dysfunctional family and suffered childhood trauma. The way people are raised often depicts how they are in adulthood. Raimond’s early childhood was difficult. His mother’s instability and emotional problems cast a shadow over his life until her death and then, there would have been the distress occasioned by the tragic circumstances of that event. Like his father, Raimond developed a sturdy capacity to battle on through adversity, to adapt, but this must have come at a heavy price. His could not have been the carefree childhood enjoyed by many children of that time. There were periods when he drifted towards juvenile delinquency. ‘Childhood as we now know it, a space apart from the adult world, a life of its own, did not exist in that part of the world at that time’ (p.2).
In this memoir we are reminded not only of the heights to which people can rise, but also of the depths to which they can sink. ‘The competing impulses towards life and towards death can be mixed up n the same person, as they are, for example, so clearly in both Romulus and Christine’. It is abnormal for so many people from the same small area to fall into such distress.   Gaita wisely doesn’t attempt to explain these things; he seems to imply that mental illness is too mysterious for us to fully fathom it. Gaita’s comment about Mitru’s death ‘No one knows why Mitru killed himself’ (p.92) proves that Gaita can’t settle for simple, one-tracked answers, implying that humans are ultimately mysterious.
In conclusion, Gaita uses several themes in order for him to convey an understanding of belonging through the use of perspective. Some of the themes used are the effect of having a dysfunctional family, suffering from childhood trauma, depression, mental illness and the effect suicide has on loved ones.