Looking For Alibrandi


Discovery
A major discovery that Josephine Alibrandi made in Melina Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi, was about her Grandmother's past life. She discovers many things about her Grandmother, including how she got to Australia, her relationship with her husband and that with Marcus Sandford. At the beginning of the novel Josephine was unaware of these facts about her Grandmother. However as the story unfolds she gradually discovers her Grandmother's history.
The author includes at intervals in the plot conversations between Josephine and her Grandmother. These allow the reader to enter into Josephine's discoveries regarding her Grandmother. During one of these talks with her Grandmother, the young girl learns how hard life was for migrants in Australia.
Nonna Katia tells Josephine how hard it was for her being in the middle of an unknown country with nobody who spoke the same language as her. Furthermore she tells of her encounters with hardships such as snakes coming into the house! She says to Josephine on page 114, "You do not know how much I hated Australia for the first year. No friends. No people who spoke the same language as me.. they were not the good old days, Jozzie."
Through the discovery of her Grandmother's past Josephine also discovers how lucky she really is to live in the time she did. Although she has her own trials because of her ethnicity, Josephine realises that these are nothing compared to the loneliness and uncertainty that Nonna Katia would have felt. She says on page 117, "I just sat there, glad that I live in these times.. I don't think I could ever handle the quiet world she lived in."
Another important discovery which is threaded throughout the book is Josephine's discovery on the whole issue of sexual relationships. We can see throughout the novel there is great pressure from Josephine's friends to have a sexual relationships. She is always hearing about the sexual relationships the people around her are having and is often made fun of by Sera, one of her best friends. Talking about Sera, on page 137, Josephine states, "I mean she knows I'm a virgin.. but still she continually loves to make digs."
Despite this pressure, Josephine discovers that her whole identity is not based on having sexual relationships. Marchetta uses the relationship between the characters of Josephine and Jacob Coote to develop this discovery. Josephine sees that sleeping with someone isn't everything because after she refuses to sleep with Jacob Coote their relationship still continues on good terms.
Josephine also discovers the difference between true love and just physical attraction. On page 213 she says, "But I don't know if I love you enough and I don't even know if you love me enough. Here she shows her discovery that although she is physically attracted to Jacob she doesn't know if it is real love that she feels for him.
Towards the end of the book Josephine finds out from her friends that sexual relationships, as they experience them, are not all that great. On page 255 Lee tells Josephine, "I just said it wasn't as great as people make out and to answer your question, Josie, you would've felt guilty now if you'd slept with Jacob." This statement from her friend most likely would have finalised Josephine's decisions and lessons she had learned about sexual activity and relationships.
Probably the most important discovery Josephine Alibrandi makes in the novel is about her own multiculturalism. On page 234 she describes the confusion she felt when kids in primary school used to ask her what her nationality was. If she said she was an Italian they would tell her she was an Australian because of where she was born and if she said she was an Australian they would tell her she was a 'wog' because of what she looked like. She writes, "and I wanted to kill myself because I was so confused.
She shows her uncertainty and frustration in not being totally Italian and not being totally Australian either because of the relationship her Grandmother had with Marcus Sandford and also the relationship her mother had with Michael Andretti. On page 219 Josephine expresses her desire to be either one or the other nationality. She admits, "Now all I want to be is an insignificant Italian in a normal Italian family.
Throughout the novel however, Josephine seems to sort out