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The Theme of Identity in Looking for Alibrandi by Melena Marchetta

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The search for self-identity is the life task of a teenager. Looking for Alibrandi is a book written by Melena Marchetta 27 years ago! 27 years, what a long time ago yet regardless it identifies with the present society and depicts the issues adolescents are confronting today. In Melina Marchetta’s novel, the theme of identity is a process of disclosure along with a journey for the majority of the characters.

The novel pursues Josephine Alibrandi, a 17-year-old, a teenager who lives with her single parent of Italian background, as she progresses through her last year of high school. She is presented as a regular young teen, with issues of insecurity, peer pressure, and sustaining a decent relationship with individuals around her. The opening depicts Josephine as haughty, as she is testing the expert of Sister Gregory in religious education class of St Martha’s High School, an affluent Catholic private school which Josie is going to on a scholarship. She feels separated because of her illegitimacy and Italian family history and incredibly loathes her strict grandmother Nonna. Josie’s dad, Michael Andretti, whom she has never met, has recently moved back to work in a Sydney law firm, adding to the drama in her life.

Josie is half Italian and half Australian, and often finds herself struggling to belong to either cultural group.’’ As far as the Italians were concerned we weren’t completely one of them. Yet because my grandparents were born in Italy we weren’t completely Australians’’. Josie feels that she does not fit in school, because of that situation. Josie’s entire life, she’s battled with tolerating her Italian culture and illegitimacy of her birth, leaving a strain on her association with her mom and Nonna. She felt strange at school thus, and for being diverse to the majority of the other students there, as their families are largely rich and apparently flawless. In any case, all through her last year of high school, numerous occasions have permitted Josie to understand that so is her culture as is her way of life.

Josie herself is on a journey of waking up to the real world and finding her identity, and that involves connecting with the people around her. The general idea is that by understanding her relationship with her parents and to the people around her, and by realizing the dreadful nature of life, Josie will transform from a foolish child into a mature adult. The novel opens with a representation of Josephine as a normal adolescent who feels dissatisfied that the world is so unequal for to her. In Looking for Alibrandi, the novel is presented through Josephine’s point of view. Josie is stereotypical yet a beneficial adolescent who is endeavouring to find her identity and who she is as an individual. As Josephine is stuck between two societies, her family’s Italian culture and the free Australian culture, she is left tangled and tormented by the requests of both.

The possible meaning of the title is to indicate that what the plot will do is to look for the major character, to look for their identity. Looking for Alibrandi also meaning Josephine Alibrandi setting herself out to the world to find out who she is as an individual and what her identity is through the hardships she experienced such as the death of her best friend John and coming to terms with her absent father, Michael.

Josie is heavily affected by her Italian culture and she at first assumed that her traditions are something to be humiliated about. She believes that she won’t almost certainly fit in because of the fact that her dissimilar culture conflicts with the Australian social standard. Every year Josie and her family celebrate Tomato Day, which is otherwise called ‘National Wog Day’ to Josie and her cousin. Tomato Day is a feared day for Josie as she whines “Tomato Day, oh god if anyone found out about it I would die.” Josie is humiliated to be a part of this event toward the start of the novel since it is an occasion that the rest of the Australian culture does not take part in. Josie feels influenced because of the fact that the majority of the ‘absurd guidelines and restrictions” that her way of culture compels her to live by.

I strongly believe that this book should be read by year 9 of 2020 since it provides real issues that adolescents are facing today. Looking for Alibrandi, I realised as a young adult, was not a ‘try-hard’ book about identity and belonging. It is the real deal and it is still extraordinary, twenty years after first publication. Melina Marchetta understood teenagers. As shown in ‘’Looking for Alibrandi’’, changing perspectives is an ongoing process in life and is can be positive and negative. Without this process in life, a person cannot adapt to new situations and present themselves in life. This book is a gem because it is not filled with one enormous climactic epiphany that awakens one to becoming an adult. Melina Marchetta understood that life was cyclical, and human emotions and moods were the same.

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The Theme Of Identity In Looking For Alibrandi By Melena Marchetta. (2020, October 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from
“The Theme Of Identity In Looking For Alibrandi By Melena Marchetta.” GradesFixer, 10 Oct. 2020,
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