Romulus My Father Essay Belonging

Romulus My Father Essay Belonging-74
Romulus Gaita was a Yugoslav-born blacksmith who, under trying circumstances, left his home for Germany, and there met and married Christine Dörr, a local woman from a middle-class background.

Romulus Gaita was a Yugoslav-born blacksmith who, under trying circumstances, left his home for Germany, and there met and married Christine Dörr, a local woman from a middle-class background.

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Nor could he ever quite discover in Australia the feeling of an intensely involved community life that he had experienced as a boy and young man living in Europe, defined in the main through conversation with friends and neighbours.

Raimond, though, loves their new home, and in the early chapters of the book we get to know the author in his own right through his affection for the central Victorian landscape, for neighbours, and for the many animals inhabiting the bush and even the farmhouse itself.

Writing Romulus, My Father, he says, allowed his return to a childhood love of the country.

The first draft was completed very quickly, in three weeks in a house close to where he lived as a boy.

He had discovered again the ‘delicate beauty’ of central Victoria, and the ways in which his father and those close to him were illuminated by it: ‘I hoped that the events and the characters of the story I told would be bathed in the light and colours of that landscape.’ The result is that Gaita’s memory of the landscape forms part of the memoir’s structure and themes, and helps to shape the often troubling connections that are formed between beauty, madness, and suffering.

Gaita has referred to Romulus, My Father as a ‘tragic poem’.

One of the origin points of the form lies with a Christian tradition of recording a pilgrim’s journey, so that others may benefit from the knowledge that the pilgrim acquired along the way.

Many memoirs aim to make sense of the past in a way that may be useful to others, and to offer their accounts in a way that is true not just to what the author remembers, but also how he or she remembers.

As Helen Garner has described it, Gaita’s narrative voice is ‘wonderfully serious, and terrified of being sentimental’.

Like a tragic poem, the voice seems to accept that the human condition is, as Gaita puts it, ‘defined by our vulnerability to misfortune’. Coetzee puts it in his comments about the book, Romulus ‘comes to serve as a lifelong moral compass to his son and, via his son, to us as readers’.

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