Whose Life Is it

I believe a journey indicates travel that offers opportunities for learning about: new things you haven’t seen or experienced before, different cultural experiences and new perspectives and ideas.

A journey can be physical, imaginative and an inner journey which involves experiences, exploration and learning about yourself. Dag Hammerski once wrote about an inner journey by saying “The longest journey of any person is the journey inward”.

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Here I will discuss the text ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ by Marlina Marchetta. In particular the inner journeys of Josephine the main character and Michael her father. These are related to the Wind in the Willow by Kenneth Grahame and the Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I will show you that more than anything else journeys are a chance to learn

In the beginning, Josie has an unusual relationship with her grandmother Nonna Katia. She feels irritated by her because she doesn’t get a lot of freedom but Nonna wants Josie to stay close with her Italian culture. An Example is when “Josie has ‘hating Nonna’ session… saying I hated her because I had to go to her place in the afternoon…”

However, Josie relationship with her grandmother changes with the course of her journey. As Nonna starts to tell Josie about her relationship with Marcus Sandford also tells her why she chose to stay with her husband Francesco.

The novel has examples of authentic language like ‘tink’ and ‘tings’, of Nonna’s conversation are spelt phonetically highlighting the Italian pronunciation. The effect of this on the audience is to show how strong Nonna’s relationship is with her culture.

Josie is at a fork in the road as in the poem Road Not Taken. By choosing to take the more difficult path it “has made all the difference”. This is clearing shown when Josie says” all this information I’ve gathered from… one day I can tell my children so that… my granddaughter can understand me. It shows Josie’s emotional journey and how she is maturing

Josie and Nonna are not the only characters that had a journey in “Looking for Alibrandi”. Josie’s Father Michael also has an important journey. Michael is a successful barrister who is confused about his feelings and wants to learn more about Josie and where she might fit into his life.

Michael’s journey with Josie begins when he returns to Sydney for his cousin’s wedding. At this point he clearly says to Christina “I don’t want her”. Similar to Rat’s Journey in the related text “Wind in the Willow”. Rat makes it clear he doesn’t want to go on the journey with Toad by saying “I’m not coming and that’s flat”

In the novel while it has a strong first person narrator in Josie it also has a lot of direct speech which allows Michael to give his own perspective. Michael and Josie’s relationship develops through the author’s clever use of Michael’s dry sense of humour and sarcasm Josie as a sharp witted teenager enjoys this challenge and Michael gains her respect.

An example is when Michael responds to a cheeky comment from Josie. “CIA agents don’t go around looking for 17 year old pests who think there smart enough to rule the world.”

Through imagery we witness Michael’s fatherly love develop for example “he took her hand and squeezed it as they climbed the stairs to her front door” after John Barton’s suicide and made her a warm drink. The depths of his affection is also evident through the author’s picture of Michael sitting leaning against Josie’s bed comforting her with fatherly advise then leaning over to kiss her.

The novel and Michael’s journey comes to a climax when he asked Josie to take his name and allow him to adopt her making his commitment forever.

It is clear that Josie’s and Michael’s journey provided them with opportunities to learn. Not only were they both changed by the knowledge and emotional maturity they gained from their experiences, it also showed how they wanted their journeys to continue.

This proves to you more than anything journeys are a chance to learn and we should find courage to take for an advantage of them.

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