Melina Marchetta is a novelist and author of screenplays and short fiction. One of her first novels was Looking for Alibrandi which she won many significant awards for. As well as attending a Catholic secondary herself, she has worked as a teacher in an all-boys school in Sydney which may have helped her develop a realistic school life for Josie in Looking for Alibrandi. Marchetta has included her own life experiences in this novel as she too was born into a working-class family of Italian descent much like Josie’s background, her school experience had its ups and downs and from her lack of confidence academically, she left school at 15 years of age. These hardships relate with Josie Alibrandi’s struggles and the fact that after all this, Marchetta returned to school to get her teaching credential after learning more about herself and what she wished to do and succeed in and overall maturing. This kind of maturing was what Josie gained at the end of the novel. These similarities between Melina Marchetta and Josephine Alibrandi show how Marchetta used her own life to influence the topic and plot of the story which created a relatable and interesting novel.
The social and cultural background of the composer mirror that of the main character, Josephine, and this has influenced the ideas of change that are represented in the text. Melina Marchetta is an Australian author and school teacher of Italian descent. Throughout the novel, Melina’s writing conveys the frustrations, worries and emancipated thoughts and feelings of Josephine Alibrandi who struggles with who she is, what she needs to be and what she wants to be. These themes may possibly highlight Melina’s thoughts and feelings about her own personal experiences of being an Australian of Italian, descent growing in an environment where multiculturalism was new and problematic. One of the struggles that Josie faces is that, “Sometimes I feel that no matter how smart or how beautiful I could be they would still remember me for the wrong things” (p. 138) this could highlight Melina’s experience with cultural differences between Italians and Australians, or of the perceived social status at school. By illustrating the cultural and social background of the composer into the main character Josephine, the text clearly references these issues during the course of the story line.
|– Josie was brought up without a male figure
– She was raised by her single mother and her Nonna who are described as the two strongest women in the world.
– Josie’s friends put pressure on her to get with a guy and do thing that was thought of as irresponsible
– Josie felt pressure from her boyfriend to have sexual intercourse
– Josie feels as if she doesn’t fit into any society , (Italian or Australian)
v Josie’s relationship with Christina is a mother-daughter relationship. They have their ups and downs and arguments but at the end of the day, Josie still goes back to Christina. At the end, they become closer because of Michael Andretti and the secrets about their family.
|– Grew up with an Italian family
– Was abandoned when she fell pregnant with Josie
– Had to survive without a husband
– Christiana is constantly being reminded of all the bad decisions she has made by Nonna.
– She is also told by Nonna that she didn’t raise Josie to be a well-mannered child
– Fell pregnant at the age of 16
– Christina was considered to be pretty
v Katia and Christina started off with a relationship were they both didn’t really communicate with each other in a loving way. Katia had the secret that her father wasn’t really an Italian, which kept them both quit distant. Also when Katia had to abandon Christina because of Katia’s husband, Christina and Katia became distant until he died. In the end, Katia tells everyone her secret and they connect.
|– Had an affair with an Australian while her husband was away
– Katia’s husband was abusive, didn’t show any affection or love and was always away
– Katia had a daughter Christina
– She had to abandon Christina because whatever her husband said she had to go with.
– She claims that she was once beautiful
v The parallel between Katia and Josie was that they are/were adventure people who wanted to just fit in. Because they were so alike, there personalities clashed. But in the end, they formed a strong relationship.
Melina Marchetta is an Australian novelist and author of screenplays and short fiction. She was born on the 25th of March 1965 in Sydney, Australia. Her nationality is Australian but she comes from Italian descent. Melina is the middle child with two sisters. She attended Rosebank College but dropped out at 15 because she wasn’t academically confident. She enrolled in a business school and gained a business and technology degree. Melina Marchetta and Josephine Alibrandi are quite similar. They share a similar culture, ethnicity and school life in a way. They both attended a Catholic girl’s school and are both of Italian descent. The main difference is Josie finished high school. Melina’s culture and background would have influenced how she wrote the novel and the perspective of the main character. The main themes would have been based off the experiences the writer had experienced. They both very likely showed similar perspectives and issues throughout their teenage years. The main character of the book was most likely created from the author’s experiences in her life which is shown through their culture, background and the ethnicity the main character and author share.
|– Grew up without a father
– Doesn’t feel like she belongs in the Australian or Italian community
– Two strong women in her life – doesn’t always want to listen to what they have to say
– Doesn’t want to show her grandmother her Australian boyfriend as she is afraid she will not approve.
|– Gave birth at a very young age which wasn’t approved in the Italian community
– Real father was Australian however she believes her father was Francesco, an Italian man.
– Cares and loves Josie a lot (raised her virtually alone)
– Gets annoyed when her mother tries to take control of her life
|– Left her parents at a very young age to marry a man who she didn’t love
– Had an affair but had to keep it a secret as the Italian community wouldn’t approve
– Came to foreign country without being able to speak the native language – thought Australians didn’t like her
– Doesn’t like it when Josie or Christina do something which is not part of Italian culture
|– Grew up without a father.||– Had a father that didn’t love her or her mother.||– Left her father and mother to live with her husband.|
|– Feels pressure to have a boyfriend.||– Married an Australian.||– Married a man that she didn’t love.|
|– No father||– No father, no husband||– No husband|
|– Has two very strong female role models.||– Loves Josie and Katia very much||– Loves Josie and Christina very much.|
|– Doesn’t feel like she fits in with the Australians and Italians
– Struggles with her illegitimacy
Ø When Josie finds out that she is more Australian than she once thought she felt more comfortable and confident with her identity which assisted in her changing perspective.
Ø Finding out about Nonna’s affair and how Christina was a result of an affair made Josie angry, however, she also understood why Nonna acted and treated Christina how she did. Knowing of her mother’s background also boosted Josie’s relationship with her mother and Nonna.
|– True father was an Australian
– Was born from an affair
– Is considered gorgeous
– Got pregnant as a teenager (violated Italian standards)
– Was Josie’s only supportive figure and was always there for Josie
– Doesn’t have a husband
Ø Drawing parallels between Christina’s and Nonna’s violation of traditional Italian standards from their pregnancies link the characters together making a bond between them and reveals a deeper relationship between the two. This contributes to revealing Josie’s changing perspective of her family.
|– Says that she was gorgeous once
– Had an affair (violated Italian standards)
– Did everything to hide her daughter and the truth from the Italians
– Husband was away a lot, didn’t treat her right and never spoke to Christina
Ø The parallel Nonna and Christina share is that they are both strong, independent, caring mothers who weren’t supported by a male figure. This was used to reveal a changing perspective on their relationship. In the beginning, Christina and Nonna were shown to be always in disagreement and on opposite sides, however, when this parallel is revealed it connects and bonds the two together.