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Josie later states ‘They stifle me with ridiculous rules and regulations they have bought with them from Europe, but they haven’t changed with the times like the Europeans have’. This highlights her fight between cultures and the forming of the Italio-Australian culture.Marchetta again uses great character constructions to present this battle and it is through the varying ‘severity’ of the ethnicity of the characters Katia, Christina and finally Josie that assist in making her point.
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.
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).
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.
Essay 1 – ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ ‘How are the differences between Australian and Italo-Australian culture displayed by Marchetta and what effects do they have on the protagonist Josie?
” Melina Marchetta’s cult text ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ looks at many issues of growing up in Australia torn between two cultures.