Struggles of Finding Your Own Identity in Looking For Alibrandi
The writer explores the different complications that Josephine has in her life and how finding her identity is hard. until the end of the book when things are starting to come together. Josephine is the only child in an Italian family., s She is the third generation of her family to live in Australia but the second generation to be born here. In the novel looking for Alibrandi we learn about the difficulties of being an Italian in Australia, but also what it is like inside Josephine’s family and friendship circle. Also in looking for Alibrandi we meet her friends that she hangs out with at school and outside of school.
Josephine’s family relationships are complicated. She lives with her mum Christina. Christina was conceived as a result of an affair that Katia had whilst still married. As a result, her dad hated Christina’s father hated her throughout her childhood which impacted on her relationships with men. Josephine was conceived out of wedlock and Christina was left to raise the child as a single mother. When she sought the assistance of her family, she was abandoned and left to fend for herself.
Another complication is around their cultural origins. On page …. Katia talks about how hard it was to move from Italy to Australia when she was young. Two generations later and the difficulties are still there. ‘Josephine is called a ‘wog’ “referringrefering to the culture she comes from” and she responds by punching the girl in the face resulting in a broken nose. Josephine was punished for this action but there was no action taken against the girl that called her a ‘wog’. The novel is set in a time when being called insulting names such as wog is common making a teenagers life very difficult as they are trying to find their way in the world. Furthermore Family is important to help find your identity, if there is a problem inside you family and you feel like you don’t fit in then it is harder to find why you are meant to be here or to try and find your identity.
Being immigrants and having a single mother, Josephine has been raised on a tight budget. As a result, she has this view of the world based around money and who can afford what. On pages 6 and 7, Josephine refers to a hierarchy of people in the school. Josephine views those that appear to have money as not having any problems. They are the rich kids with rich parents, rich grandparents, Anglo Saxon Australians, who do not have a problem in the world. The rich Europeans that haven’t had a holiday for twenty years just so their children can go to an expensive school and get the proper education which they missed out on. Then there are the scholarship kids. This is the category that Josephine sits in because she could not afford the cost of the school fees so she tried out for the scholarship program.
Despite her success, she does not feel that she belongs and struggles to see herself in the same class as the students who are not on a scholarship. This complicates the situation for her as it limits her thinking around what she can and can not achieve based on her view of her social situation. However you place in a social class can be hard to find your identity because you are at the bottom and everyone is higher than you.
Her views on the hierarchical nature impact on her relationships with friends. On page 49 she refers to her relationship with John Barton and how they meet at a debating session. Then they became friends and Josephine wanted to be a debater after that night due to John being as bored as she was.
Her heritage also impacts on her friendships and their ability to fit into the social scene. Page 18 to 20, explains Josephine friends and their backgrounds. There is Anna Silicic who is Slovakian with long blonde hair, blue eyes, and a healthy red cheek look. Anna is nervous and fears speaking up due to her past. Then there is Seraphina who is a compulsive liar. Since Seraphina was 14 she has never been without a boyfriend for more than a week and she’s the only one of us who’s slept with a guy.
The person who Josephine most connects to is Lee Taylor the are complete opposites. They claim they have nothing in common but they can talk for hours on any subject. That they come from different parts of society yet both of them are on the scholarship. They pretend that their families use words like wog and in Josephine’s family they happen to be wogs yet Josephine respects her more than anyone of her friends. Yet if we do not have friends we will find it hard to find our place in the world therefore Friends link back into the the question to answer.
In looking for Alibrandi you can understand how hard life is in Josephine’s life you can see this through the eyes of the aAuthor Melina Marchetta by looking at her family issues, her social class and also her friend’s issues. So you can say that the novel looking for Alibrandi explores the complications faced by an individual trying to find her identity in a society where belonging means everything.
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