Journal Blogging- Looking for Alibrandi
In the beginning of the novel, Josie appease to be quite rebellious and defiant. After she is caught reading a magazine in class, she reveals she is the opposite of a model student who does not follow the rules often.
Josie appears to see herself quite positively and is self-assured and confident. She struggles to define her ethnicity and how this impacts on her as a person, which is explored more thoroughly in the novel. In chapter 3 on page 40, she quotes “I’ll run away… To be free and think for myself. Not as an Australian or as an Italian, and not as an in between…” which shows how she is frightened of the cultural expectations placed on her and how she feels limited by her race. Her fears are also often brought to attention during her schooling, where many students regard her only by her race and illegitimacy and not her intelligence or achievements, and this often angers Josie even to the point of breaking a fellow student’s nose with her textbook. Her mother and grandmother are the two strongest influences in her life, however her grandmother pushes strong cultural beliefs on her, clashing with her mother who does not believe strongly in them. Their arguments are often brought to attention but also show the set of strong family ties which Josie has with both women.
The expectations of Josie’s family, friends, teachers and peers during the course of the novel help shape Josie into the person she is at the novels end and heavily impact her relationships with other characters. Many of the challenges that Josie faces during the novel are quite foreign to me, as I have not grown up with a similar set of expectations. The family and cultural expectations, mostly from her grandmother, seem very restricting and I felt pity for her when reading them. Josie’s perspective towards her culture changes through the novel, where she begin to understand that its expectation are unrealistic and immovable. As Josie attends a prestigious prep school on scholarship, she views her work, particularly English, quite seriously. The nuns at the school are quite strict and do not look at Josie favourably as the expect her to perform well. This expectation to perform academically must be quite demanding and I can relate to the stressful part of school life. The snobbery at her high school is seen often from her wealthy Caucasian classmates and and though Josie often does not handle these situations the best possible way, she always has good reasoning. Particularly, the situation where she broke a classmate’s nose with a textbook and was not listened to when she tried to explain why demonstrated the economic privilege of those not attending on scholarship at the school. In many of the compromising situations Josie was placed in over the course of the novel, I felt that she was the underdog to someone much more powerful than her and felt quite irritated at some of the blatant racism of many of the more minor characters in the book.