Melina Marchetta’ s novel of Looking for Alibrandi tells a story of a ordinary but typical 17- year-old girl Josie Alibrandi who is an Australian of Italian descent. She is an illegitimate child brought up by her solo mother hardly. Therefore as a passionate teenage, she confronts and resolves a number of problems of reconciling her family’s past with her futures, after experience these, Josie learns to accept her cultural heritage, and get an banlance between the demands of her Italian heritage and her ambitions in Australia. Josephine is on the road of growing.
Josie accepts her cultural heritage through understanding her grandmother Katia’s past. At the first part of the novel, Katia seems to be a stereotypical Italian woman, and a guardian of culture. She doesn’t allow Josie to go to camp, and often criticizes her about anything. Josephine disagrees with her and argues with her,”‘Its not the youth of today, â€¦It’s you and people like you, always worrying what other people think.'” (Melina,1992, p.37). However, as the novel develops, nanon told a lot of things about her past to Josie, As a beautiful young girl who was interested in boys, she was married off her family to an older man and then moved to Australia where she knew no one and had to manage alone in the hut while her husband was away working. She became pregnant to an Australia man who loved her, yet stayed with her unloving husband because of the child. After her husband died, Christina was brought up by nonna alone. Without telling her daughter the truth, she sacrificed her whole life for Christina, but never ever told her daughter what she gave up. Josie begins to agree with her after know these and is conscious of the important cultural heritage, and then refers to her grandmother as’the strongest women'(Melina,1992,p.226). She becomes an obedient girl and a dutiful daughter, so when Jocob wants to have sex with her, she refuses, she would not want to break the tradition that not to have sex before marriage.
The love experiences with two very different boys¼ŒJohn Barton and Jacob Coote, makes Josie accept her family background and help her to find herself. Josie has always been attracted to John Barton, At first, Josie thinks john is the man of her dream, and with good reason, from a rich family, bound for law school, and good-looking, what just like josie wanted to own by herself,”The world of sleek haircuts and upper-class privileges” (Melina,1992,p.32). The cultural differences between Josie and John is the cultural differences between the poor and the rich. In josie’s eyes, John seems to have everything going for him. John barton is a son of a wealthy MP. However,despite his privileged social status, he cannot find happiness. His father wished he turned excellent politician. He finds it impossible to escape the pressures from his family, so he chooses suicide. And this give josie a great shock and provides her with a tragic perspective for her own life and problems “I remembered when we spoke about our emancipation. The horror is that he had to die to achieve his. The beauty is that I’m living to achieve mine.”(Melina,1992,p.240), the suicide of her unrequited sweetheart makes her resilience. Despite being emotionally hurt, Josephine discovers to value her identity, and chang her approach towards life. Through the assistance of john Barton she successfully finds her true self, and then she gets the liberation.
The other boy is Jacob Coote whom Josie loves. They have many fights, but eventually things turn out for the best. Jacob Coote is working-class bad boy, the cultural differences between Josie and Jacob is the cultural differences between Australian-Italians and other Australians(Tran, Udomsak,& Stale,2009)At the beginning of the novel, Jacob’s wonderful speech attracts Josie and makes her interested in him, but later his casual dresses and his behaviour astonishes her. Just like this, Josie always has conflicting feelings towards Jacob. When John died, Jocob lends a shoulder to her, and he saves her from the bad man on her way home, she finds he is considerate and always able to find ways to let her calm down. Josie takes Jacob’s advice, ‘ Break away from those rules, Josie. Make your own.'(Melina,1992,p.206). At the same time, Jacob teaches her to own dream forever, “promise me you’ll never stop dreaming.” (Melina,1992,p.239)and”you won’t have to put up with some cultureless Aussie with no heart and soul.” (Melina,1992,p.208)”. Jacob is special to Josie, because of the same class, Josie can learn to get rid of bias of identity under his help and better to answer the question of what I am(E´lise, Pierre, JeanPierre, et al..2007).
The recognition of Josie and her father Michael appears Josie get ou of the obsession of illegitimacy identity, accepting her whole family. From the beginning, she wants her father along with her, and then is angry for his absence in her life, has never seen her father and has always had life long dream of meeting him. ‘Seventeen-year-olds don’t need a father.'(Melina,1992,P.66); So when she first is aware of her father’s exist, she doesn’t know how to face him. Until one day she hits Carly’s nose heavily by book and is forced to shout out her father’s phone number, she realizes her strong feelings of having a father in her mind. Simultaneously, as the father rejects her at first but, with Josie’s persistence her father finally accepts her. Michael tells Josie,’A person doesn’t necessarily have to be happy just because they have social standing and material wealth, Josie.’ (Melina,1992,p.235), and let her know not judge people by their appearance alone. When John was dead, Michael tells her” living is the challenge, dying is so easy(Melina,1992,p.236)’ to make her strong, and from the words ‘People change. Circumstances change them.’ (Melina,1992,p.243), Josie learns to accept all the changes. From the above all, josie feels the support from a father and wants a whole family.
In conclusion, Josie learns to accept her cultural heritage, her family, and everything around her in the life. She doesn’t feel ashamed on “National Wog Day” and likes to invite her friends to enjoy it. She is pretty sure about her destiny now. the Alibrandi women are not cursed, but blessed! Ultimately, the most important thing is that she finds that she must be true to herself, her beliefs and her dreams.
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