Different materials relate to the concept of belonging in various manners depending on, initially, the text type and the ideas and issues it is concerned with. The novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, written by John Boyne, is from the perspective of a nine year old boy who comes face to face with a life unimaginable to him. There are many ways in which it relates to the concept of belonging and Romulus My Father including the representations of the character, their relationships with each other and their view points as well as the setting, events and situations.
Romulus My Father is a memoir about the experiences and life of Romulus Gaita, the author’s father. It explores the depths of belonging and not belonging right from the first chapter where Romulus leaves his home because of the disagreements he had with his uncle. This pushes Romulus to explore his country and takes him to find a job that he is very good at and enjoys doing but Romulus is not happy with his life as he is alone and has little money. This takes Romulus to Germany where he meets Christina who he marries against her parents will.
Christina is an asthmatic and the environment in Germany is not suitable for her so they have to move to Australia with their son, Raimond. This move is against Romulus’s plans of starting a new life in Germany but he has no other option but to think of his family. Upon arriving in Australia, Romulus and Christina drifted apart leaving Romulus alone in a new country where he knew nobody, did not know how to speak the language and did not understand the culture, everything here was different for him and he missed his country and home.
Although he had made very good friends here and started working and the community started appreciating what a great man Romulus was, he still missed Romania. When Romulus eventually went back to visit Romania he realised how much better his life was in Australia. There are similar connections in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which is set around the same time as when Romulus was in Germany.
The young boy, Bruno, is made to move from his home in Berlin to Out-With which is initially very unpleasant to Bruno because there is nothing for him to do, no children to play with and nothing around to see or explore. His decisions are made my father including the one about moving to Out-With. Bruno eventually makes a friend from the other side of a fence that stretches forever, while he is exploring. The boy he meets, Shmule, is born on the exact same day as Bruno but this seems to be the only thing the two have in common.
As the two boys become closer, Bruno starts to like living in Out-With and when they go back to Berlin he realises he has lost the attachment he had with his home in Berlin. The ideas in Romulus My Father about Romulus having to move to Australia against his will but had to because of his wife is directly related to Bruno having to move to Out-With upon his father’s decision. Both Romulus and Bruno do not initially like their new home and miss their original homes.
But when they go back they realise that, in Romulus’s case Australia and Bruno’s case Out-With, have better qualities and both fit in, into their new homes better. Although these two texts are both different, one being a memoir and the other a novel, and despite the two being from completely different perspectives and contexts, they are very much related through the way each of them represents the concepts of belonging.