Belonging is a fundamental element of human nature that yearns for connections to be shared with people and places to gain a sense of fulfilment. . Sharing deep affiliations with people influences one’s values and perceptions, often providing sustenance and self-confidence for the individual. The memoir Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy and the Film Australia, directed by Baz Luhrmann 2010, explore the notion that the strong bonds with people can shape an individual’s core beliefs and acceptance of the surrounding environment can impact a person’s attitude towards a place. A lack of connection to an environment can often result in one’s alienation. Both Paul and Keller find themselves outsiders in Darwin for different reasons, Paul’s association with Darwin was chosen by his parents whereas Keller’s was self-inflicted as an escape from his bad memories of Vienna. Coming from a cultured family to a place like Darwin that was critically judged by Paul’s father through a list of negative forms “It’s a town of drunks… All the scum in the country has somehow risen to this one town… All the drifters the misfits, the wife bashers.” Such a setting challenges Paul’s attempts to find a sense of belonging having a sense of belonging having left his place in Adelaide that was “of rose beds and apricot trees and cream brick dream homes.” On the other hand Paul’s father metaphorically describes Darwin’s isolation from culture and the rest of Australia as “The arsehole end of the earth… A city of booze, blow and blasphemy.” This juxtaposition reflects the way different physical setting help Paul to explore his sense of belonging. His is able to embrace his surroundings which hyperbolically described as “Everything grew larger than life in the steamy, hothouse of Darwin… Exotic hothouse blooms,” as he begins to resolve his differences with Keller himself and with the environment of Darwin, Paul’s admiration with his surroundings is only reached when he becomes aware of how he values Keller “I find it hard to understand how much I came to love the man, to depend on him.” Like Paul. Keller is an outsider to the Australian landscape through his physicality, “the suit: white linen, freshly pressed. And-absurdly in that climate, the stiff collar and tie.” As a highly cultured European coming to a place that values “a town of drunks.” Keller may find some sort of refuge there but his true connection only results when he makes a commitment to Paul “Taught me everything I know.” Thus Goldsworthy’s text highlights the notion that commitment formed in a new environment can result in a sense of connection and facilitate the ability to appreciate and except one’s new environment.
The lack of connection with family members can influence an individual’s ability to accept one’s surroundings. Keller’s self-inflicted isolation from Vienna, a place that holds memories of horrific acts where Keller loses his family, amplifies his inability to embrace the Darwin landscape as it contrasts Darwin exotic atmosphere to Keller’s “dark room at the Swan”. Keller’s purpose in Darwin was not to forget the traumatic experiences that his family had gone through but to inflict pain upon himself and blame his actions for their circumstances. For Keller to escape the haunting memories of his family he turns to alcohol, only when Paul enters his life does he become “like a father,” and his affection gives him a purpose in life. Keller led a reclusive life which was away for him to protect himself from revealing his true identity. His enigmatic manner offers much speculation within the Darwin community as “various theories, half-truths and slanders were bruited about, often totally contradictory and always extreme” statements were made about Keller’s history. Keller was ready to reveal to Paul the truth about his life but Paul’s yearning for lust “I loved him, in many ways- but I loved Rosie more” was stronger than listening