Looking for Alibrandi (Belonging)

9 September 2016

Adaptation is something that happens and it can’t be stopped. It can either conclude in a negative or positive way. Some people can’t handle the adjustment and they can suffer severe consequences. Others can handle the adjustment and they achieve a personal growth within themselves. In the compelling novel ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ written by Melina Marchetta, Josephine Alibrandi is a typical immature teenager, struggling to deal with the responsibilities and cultural pressures place upon her by her peers and family.

Josephine Alibrandi the seventeen protagonist of Marchetta’s narrative, tells the story of her final year of high school in an intimate and emotive fashion, through Marchetta’s utilisation of first person narration. She feels trapped between two cultures, that of the ‘old’ Italy and the ‘new’ Australia. “I’ll run to one day…to be free and think for myself. Not as an Australian and not as an Italian… I’ll run to be emancipated. ” She asserts the motifs of running and enslavement a potent image of how Josie feels trapped and that she must adapt to this life, lest she be doomed to ‘run’ forever.

Looking for Alibrandi (Belonging) Essay Example

Tomato day is a traditional Italian day when the whole family comes together to make ‘spaghetti sauce’ to eat. Josie refers to this day as ‘National Wog Day’ and is ashamed /embarrassed on this day as she quotes using hyperboles “Oh god, if anyone ever found out about this I’d die. ” At the start of ‘tomato day’, Josie thinks the whole day is a waste of time and doesn’t recognise the day as a significant Italian tradition. “I can’t understand why we can’t go…And buy Leggo’s or Paul Newman’s special sauce.

But by the end of the day, after hearing what grief her Nonnas (grandmother) went through, that it is a traditional day were the whole family could be together to celebrate their culture “…A tradition that I probably will never let go of either, simply because like religion, culture is nailed into you so deep you can’t escape it. No matter how far you run. ” “…I had stood so close to this man who I have spent all my life slotting into the furthest part of my mind. ” Metaphorical text that describes her not thinking about her father, Michael Andretti, and basically forced herself to forget he even existed.

So when she is confronted with meeting him she is intrigued but angry and confused as he refers to her as a ‘situation’ and ‘Christina’s daughter’ meaning he does not acknowledge her as his own. Later through the novel they begin to bond especially the time they spend together on their way to Michael’s house in Adelaide. She states “…embarrassed around each other but there is a great respect there. I never really thought I would respect my father. ” Josie had to adapt (and still is) to the introduction of her father. Josie once said “I hate the word ‘respect’.

It makes me feel sick to my stomach. ” Now she uses it to describe what she feels about Michael, which means she must care about him a lot and he has impacted on her. As the adaptation theme in this novel is mostly portrayed as the positive storyline of Josephine Alibrandi there is also the almost depressing storyline of John Barton. He was forced to adapt to a situation, follow in his father’s footsteps to be a successful politician, and he could not handle the pressures placed upon him as he felt alone, trapped and could not see any other way except to kill himself.

Using words like ‘meaningless’, ’nothingness’ and ‘I am still alone’ describes how doubtful he felt in his powerfully emotive poem and how truly trapped he was. “.. When we spoke about emancipation. The horror is that he had to die to achieve his. The beauty is that I’m living to achieve mine. ” While he felt like there was only one way out Josie is accomplishing emancipation by transforming and accepting adaptation unlike John.

Josephine and her Nonna have a love-hate relationship and although they both know that deep down they love each other very much, they often conceal this and question this during their regular arguments. “She looked tired and I realised that I loved her as much as I disliked her. ” Josephine often feels like she doesn’t understand a thing about her Nonna as they grew up during totally different times and Nonna doesn’t understand why her daughter and granddaughter don’t treat her with lots of respect despite the fact of the way she treated her own daughter and how the Italian community treated them both.

By the end of the novel Josephine starts to understand her Nonna more as she opens up her past and things like her move from Italy to Australia, the constant isolation, the abuse from Nonno and how just like Josephine her Nonna also wished to be emancipated. “He called me bad names and I thought he would kill me and I wondered how he could possibly know” Nonno was violent and didn’t treat Nonna properly but she stayed with him to keep her familys reputation intact and to take care of her daughter. Adaptation is something you need to survive.

It determines if you’re going to be trapped for ever or if you could finally brake free. Josephine Alibrandi was stuck between two cultures, didn’t know who her father was, rude, immature, selfish and felt trapped. Her growth through adaptation undoubtedly creates a personal maturity within herself as she finally feels emancipated and feels like an individual who cant be defined by what culture she is, who her friends are or who her family is. “You know, a wonderful thing happened to me when I reflected back on my year. ‘One day’ came. Because I finally understood. ”

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