“Powerful influences impact on an individual’s sense of belonging.”
Analyse how your composer has represented these influences in both your prescribed text and the stimulus text provided.
Shared ethics and ideals have a powerful influence on an individual’s sense of belonging which consequently impacts on the way an individual will live their life. Understanding and acceptance are also significant influential factors in relation to belonging. If an individual does not fit into the expected behaviours, this can lead to alienation. These ideas are effectively represented in Raimond Gaita’s memoir ‘Romulus My Father’ and the anonymous ‘Jigsaw Visual’.
Shared ethics and ideals have a powerful influence on an individual’s sense of belonging which consequently impacts on the way an individual will live their life. This idea is explored in ‘Romulus My Father’ through the strong relationship between Romulus and Raimond, whose affiliation is based around their shared morals and values. These principles have been able to provide Raimond with an honourable framework by which to live his own life, which impacts on his sense of belonging. In Gaita’s description of the farmhouse at Frogmore where the adolescent Raimond spent a number of years, he is able to create a visual image of extreme poverty. He describes how they cooked on a “one burner kerosene stove” and due to the lack of money for firewood, in winter they had to “break the ice” on the water tank and wash in freezing water. In spite of these difficult conditions, Gaita recalls how “I never felt that we were poor, though I think we were judged by others”. Through this reflective statement, Gaita conveys how his upbringing with Romulus was a powerful influence on forging his sense of belonging to his father and to himself as they shared the same beliefs and values.
In a similar way the anonymous ‘Jigsaw Visual’ conveys the idea that values and ethics have a powerful influence on an individual’s sense of belonging. The individuals within the graphic share the same belief which is that each individual can contribute to society and also be unique. This is conveyed through symbolism of the diverse puzzle pieces that each figure has obtained This idea is reinforced through the utilisation of the division of the frame as each puzzle piece fits together to create the idyllic community, represented at the top of the image. These shared experiences can help mould an individual’s values and beliefs as they engage in social relationships and this can lead to a sense of belonging. Both these texts convey the idea that values and ethics have a powerful influence on an individual’s sense of belonging.
To be understood and accepted by others is another significant influential factor in relation to belonging as well as the understanding and affiliation that an individual may have with an environment, leads to the sense of belonging. This is explored in ‘Romulus My Father’ through Raymond’s sudden realisation and understanding with the new Australian landscape that neither his Mother nor Father acquired throughout their lifetime. In order to portray this affinity with the landscape, Gaita has utilised imagery through the gift of hindsight when he recollects how, when walking in the Australian bush to rabbit hunt, he surprisingly realised this was the first time in his life that he was really “alive to beauty” in regards to the new found exquisiteness of his surroundings. Gaita employed a simile to convey his change of insight of the landscape which led to a heightened understanding and sense of belonging: “My perception of the landscape changed radically as when one sees the second image of an ambiguous drawing.” This simile which associates his new insight of the landscape to an ambiguous drawing is effective and conveying how through observing the bush in an altered way, he is able to truly understand and appreciate it. It is this which has a powerful