Looking For Alibrandi Nonna Essay

Looking For Alibrandi Nonna Essay-80
“A daughter’s behaviour always reflects on how good a mother is. Her expectations on Josie to be a ‘good Italian girl’ weigh heavily on the protagonist but also provide her with a great set of well constructed guidelines to fall back on when she feels the need.Her willingness to drop her Italian heritage when a conflict arose is something that has taken her 17 years to understand and to be able operate but took her mother a much longer period and still is yet to have any effect on Katia as whenever conflict arises or she feels pressure she speaks fluent Italian and is shown to be the total opposite to Josie as she displays traits linked with Australian culture, to the point where Katia is quoted asking Christina ‘Where is the Culture?The main protagonist Josie Alibrandi was born in Australia into a family with strong Italian cultural links and her battle to ‘find’ herself and her ethnicity is one that I will explore further.

“A daughter’s behaviour always reflects on how good a mother is. Her expectations on Josie to be a ‘good Italian girl’ weigh heavily on the protagonist but also provide her with a great set of well constructed guidelines to fall back on when she feels the need.Her willingness to drop her Italian heritage when a conflict arose is something that has taken her 17 years to understand and to be able operate but took her mother a much longer period and still is yet to have any effect on Katia as whenever conflict arises or she feels pressure she speaks fluent Italian and is shown to be the total opposite to Josie as she displays traits linked with Australian culture, to the point where Katia is quoted asking Christina ‘Where is the Culture?The main protagonist Josie Alibrandi was born in Australia into a family with strong Italian cultural links and her battle to ‘find’ herself and her ethnicity is one that I will explore further.

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This continual put down of the culture allows Josie to gain an understanding of the importance of the Italian culture.

Marchetta uses this tool well as Katia is not only judging Josie and her growing Australian culture but also judges Christina, her culture and the development of the newly formed ‘Italo – Australian’ culture.

Christina Alibrandi fulfils the requirements of her Italian Culture but also is involved in several behaviours that suggest she has moved away from the strict guidelines outlined by her mother Katia. Katia often mentions that Christina bought ‘disgrace’ onto the Alibrandi family name after she had Josie out of wedlock.

Christina has been constructed by Marchetta in a way that shows her movement from strong Italian culture to a more moderate Italo-Australian culture. The ideology of marriage is highlighted by Marchetta through several quotes by Katia.

But then later in the text comments that ‘Like all tomato days we had spaghetti that night, made by our own hands. A tradition that I probably will never let go of either, simply because it is like a religion, culture is nailed into you so deep you can’t escape it. ’ (pg 174) Nothing more explicitly highlights the willingness of Josie to drop her ethnicity when it serves her purpose than this quote . Another example of Josie’s ability, need and willingness to change her culture when she feels fit to do so.

Josie Alibrandi has ties to Italian culture through both the women in her life but it is as her relationships with Jacob and John develop her willingness and ability to ‘drop’ or ‘change’ her ethnicity becomes more evident. The effect of the strategies used by Marchetta to display Italian culture (Katia) and Italo – Australian culture (Christina) has a massive effect over the protagonist Josie.

Josie adheres to this cultural requirement and does it yearly and although feels embarrassed to do so continues along this tradition.

Josie does question the tradition and asks ‘Why can’t we go to Franklins and buy Leggos or Paul Newman’s special sauce’ (pg 171).

Josie has two main role models in her life throughout the text that stand for different things. ‘I think you’re jealous because you didn’t go out and make anything of your life when Papa died. As a first generation immigrant to Australia Katia had to deal with exclusion, racism, segregation and surviving in a new country.

Her mother, Christina Alibrandi who was bought up in a strict Italian way and has many of the traits of a ‘good Italian’ girl is used by Marchetta to form a moderate or ‘mildly Italian’ character. Because you didn’t mix and you wanted to so much but you were scared that people would talk. Katia brings with her a strict set of cultural rules and regulations that are expressed in the book with the dominant ideologies being the importance of marriage, the expectation to marry within your culture and that illegitimacy is not acceptable.

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