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Looking For Alibrandi Essay

956 words - 4 pages

Melina Marchetta

In what ways does Melina Marchetta comment on racial and cultural differences, and how effectively does her novel reflect reality?

Looking for Alibrandi is a novel that discusses many racial and cultural differences and portrays the issues with a perspective very similar to reality. Marchetta addresses these issues with a true understanding as she grew up in the same conditions as Josephine Alibrandi. The main issue is how racism affects Josephine Alibrandi and how it changes her social experiences throughout the novel. Being of Italian descent, Josephine finds it very difficult to blend in with everyone else without being considered an outsider. This is what really exposes Josephines’ emotions in a way that fully reveals how she looks at racism, cultural differences and being able to fit in.

The cultural difference Marchetta is trying to show is how Josephine does not initially think of herself as being from a different racial background even though she knows that she is no different from Sera as they have the same roots. “She’s the stereotype of a wog yet she doesn’t give a damn” (20). This really outlines Josephine and her character’s growth for the rest of the novel as she starts to accept the fact that she is of Italian descent.

Josephine envies Ivy Lloyd because of her being 100% Australian. Josephine feels smaller, weaker and less powerful overall just because of her cultural difference. “I want to belong to her world. The world of sleek haircuts and upper-class privileges. People who know famous people and lead educated lives. A world where I can be accepted.” (8)
Please, God, let me be accepted by someone other than the underdog” (32). The quotation directly addresses this point by showing Josephine’s’ inner feelings of sadness in her differences to Ivy Lloyd and her associates. Josephine is also verbally abused with racist comments from Ivy Lloyds clique which also further degrades her and her general attitude throughout the novel. Josephine is very uneasy at this stage of the novel and over time she grows into a much more mature woman that learns to not worry so much about her social status and what other people think of her.

Looking for Alibrandi chronicles a year in the life of Josephine Alibrandi, a third generation Italian-Australian on the verge of adulthood. We share her experiences at a wealthy Catholic school, her relationships with friends and family, the discovery of her grandmother’s secret and the return of her unknown father. More importantly, we see her struggle with identity, acceptance and the cultural differences within her society. By the end of the novel however, we see her emancipation from the inhibitions of society and tradition. Perhaps Josie's emancipation would not have occurred without the issues she encountered within the last year. The changes come about through the interaction of...

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