Belonging is an intangible and complex concept, which is based upon new insights and a developing sense of identity. Identity can be shaped through the relationships between individuals and through one’s relationship with the land, their culture and society. This is exemplified in the texts “Romulus My Father” composed by Raimond Gaita, the French film “Amelie” directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the free versed poem “The Past” by Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
The biography “Romulus My Father” written by Raimond Gaita, fundamentally explores the concept of cultural and environmental belonging and the relationship between individuals and society. The dynamic nature of belonging and the various aspects that it explores is demonstrated through Romulus’ inability to identify with the harsh Australian landscape. Gaita refers to this in the quote:
“He longed for the generous and soft European foliage but the eucalypts of Baringhup…seemed symbols of deprivation and bareness.”
This rich and figurative imagery draws a direct comparison between the landscapes of Romulus’ past and present. Romulus has an intense nostalgia for his connection with the European landscape; however, through his unresolved identity he is unable to reconcile to the Australian landscape and ultimately struggles to find a sense of belonging.
Gaita explores how the development of identity can influence a sense of belonging through his relationship with his father and the environment. Raimond’s attitude towards the Australian landscape is initially influenced by his father’s European sensibility, in which he fails to find a sense of identity. Raimond’s perspective is transformed when he experiences an aesthetic and spiritual unity with the Australian landscape, hence discovering an independent identity and belonging. This is seen in Raimond’s lyrical description of the land:
“The glorious, tall, burnt-yellow grasses moving irregularly against a deep blue sky.”