Looking for Alibrandi is a novel written by Melina Marchetta. It is about a young female named Josephine Alibrandi. This book is about Josephine’s journey in search of her identity, and her relationships around her. It shows how her views are depicted and how her views change throughout the course of the novel. This novel portrays the use and abuse of power and its effects on individuals in society. These powers include the powers of freedom, education, legal, psychological, cultural, pressure, parental, empowerment, personal choice and relationships.
All these powers make a huge impact throughout the course of the novel, whether they or negative or positive powers. The power of freedom, with the theme of destiny is a power present throughout the whole novel. This power plays positively through the novel. Josie believes that a person can chose their destiny and create their own path of life. She believes that no matter who you are, you can prevail over anything that is holding you back and that you can defy the stars and create your own destiny.
In the novel Josie mentions “… we’re masters of our own destiny” which highlights the power of freedom, and having a choice in where your life is heading. On the other hand, the power of freedom ties in with the power of culture. The power of culture plays a negative path of the story in Looking for Alibrandi. The power of culture intertwines with the themes of racism and multiculturalism. Josie’s culture, being of Italian descent, holds her back in the course of the novel. As Josephine is an ‘ethnic girl’, it holds her back from being the person she wants to be, and the things she wants to achieve.
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Her culture is a wall seperating her from who she is right now, and she wants to be. As an ethnic, she is looked down in society, and it makes her life more difficult. In the novel, Josie states “… no matter how smart I am or how much I achieve, I am always going to be a little ethnic from Glebe, as far as these people are concerned. ” This statement clarifies her struggle of being an ethnic in the Australian society. The power of education is a power used positively in the book. With the power of education and Josie’s intelligence, she earns a scholarship at a ich, high class school. This power is used positively as Josie’s family is of the working class society, and they are unable to afford fees at St Martha’s but with the help of her scholarship, allows her to enter the school. Whilst attending this school Josie gets a taste of real life experiences within a complicated society. Josie then receives a broader perspective on the views of how she see’s other people, and how they depict her. The psychological powers in the book are abused both negatively and positively.
First of all, psychological powers are used negatively when Nonno Francesco forces Nonna Katia to stay with him because of Katia’s secret with Marcus Sanford. Francesco uses these occurrences to his advantage and blackmails Katia to stay with him, so that he is not looked down upon in shame by his family if Katia were to leave him. In contrast, the use of psychological powers is also used in a positive aspect. Josie’s search for her identity uses psychological power. As Josie learns more about herself and her family, she finds out many things that help her to become the person she was longing to be and to uncover her true identity.
Josie’s positive use of psychological powers in using it to find her true self, has helped her understand the concepts of life and broaden he horizons towards her views on life altogether. Whilst finding her identity, Josie quotes “I’ll run one day. Run for my life. To be free and think for myself. Not as an Australian and not as a not as an Italian and not as in between. I’ll run to be emancipated. ” This statement show’s how Josie views herself, and that she just wants to be her own person and uncover her true identity. Parental power is used in the negatively in this novel.
It shows how people in society pressure their children, and do not let them choose to be the person they want to be. An example of this is John Barton. He receives a lack of freedom, not only this, but great amounts of pressure are laid upon him to follow the family footsteps. Even though he had everything anyone ever needed, it’s not what John wanted. When expressing himself to Josie, John states “I’ve always had to be the best because it’s expected of me. ” With this quote, you could feel the pressure laid upon John, to be who his parents want him to be. This leads to the path of personal choice.
Personal choice is connected to parental power, empowerment and relationships. The power of personal choice is used negatively; an example of this negative use is John Barton’s choice to commit suicide. With all the weight put upon John, and the pressure he received from his family, he was confused and did not know what to do. With his weak relationship with his family, and having too much power, he felt he had no other choice to rid of all these pressures, but to revert to suicide. John believed that suicide would solve all his problems and he would be set free of everything laid upon him, and that he would receive complete ‘emancipation’.
A positive power did arise from John’s personal choice of suicide. This was the power of empowerment. John’s death impacted the other characters positively. John’s death empowered the other characters; it made the other characters, like Josie and Ivy think thoroughly about where they were in life, and where there lives were heading. It provided determination for the characters to pursue themselves to be who they want to be. It had motivated the characters to be strong, to talk and interact with each other and express what they each felt.
This incident made everyone bond, and everyone’s relationships strengthened through the experience. End here, and add conclusion if not enough time The power of relationships is the strongest power in the novel. It is one of the only powers present throughout the entire novel. There are many relationships in the novel, one being with the women of the Alibrandi family. All three, Josie, Christina and Katia share a love hate relationship with each other. Since Josie and her mother Christina live together and Christina is a single parent, they support each other and talk like best friends.
On the other hand, with Katia, she is very distant with Christina because of the secret behind Christina’s true identity. At the start of the book, Katia & Josie practically hate each other, but as the story progresses, they bond and grow a stronger relationship. With this relationship, Josie uncovers the truth of why Francesco could never act as a ‘real father’ to Christina and why Francesco had so much hatred and kicked her out at sixteen. Towards the end of the book, the three find out how common alike they are with each other, they gain a mutual bond and there relationship grows stronger as they grow fonder of each other.
The relationship between Nonna Katia, Nonno Francesco & Marcus Sanford has a huge impact on how things turned out for Christina and Josie, and the relationship they share with Katia. Katia and Francesco had a very one sided relationship. When Francesco goes off to work, Nonna meets a Marcus whilst she has an emotional breakdown. Marcus comforts her, and this starts their relationship. Their relationship would grow, and they would grow fonder and fonder of each other as time passes.
When Katia was with Marcus she states she felt passion, and this was the only time she ever felt ‘love’ which was never shown to her by Francesco. With this passionate relationship, it led to Katia and Marcus making love, and therefore having Christina. Marcus gave Katia what Francesco could not give her, love, passion and a child. Josie and Michael Andretti started off with a weak relationship; it grew stronger & stronger as they got to know each other. At first they did not want anything to do with each other, but as time went on their view’s changed.
Michael then turned into a father figure and finally acted as a father towards Josie. Michael helps Josie get through a lot of her problems, like a possible court case, having heart to heart talks to express feelings & just being there for her. Josie and Jacob their relationship changed each other’s points of views, made each others perspectives broaden. It made each other’s outlook change towards the way they see their lives & futures. They teach other that social class doesn’t mean everything and that they an choose their own destiny, and defy whatever barriers hold them back.
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