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Romulus, My Father Essay Exploring Friendship Essay The friendship between Romulus and Hora had more influence on Raimond's life than the absence of his mother. Discuss
Romulus, my father, written by Raimond Gaitor is an autobiographical novel exploring the much respected values and morals possessed by Raimond Gaitor's father Romulus as seen by Raimond growing up in rural Australia. Gaitor writes the novel in awe of his father and the steadfast principles he believed in. Throughout the novel it is clear that through both his father's teachings and the teachings of Romulus's closest friend Hora, the influences of both of these men throughout their lifelong friendship become apparent in the life of Raimond Gaitor, whilst the lacklustre maternal influence given by Christine during Raimond's childhood does not play as significant a role on Raimond's life.
Christine, Raimond's mother is continually described as intense during the course of the novel. The intensity of Christine is not only in the description of her physical attributes but in character and her actions. Gaitor describes his mother as possessing a `haunted sadness'. This method of foreshadowing is later revealed as an effort of describing the eventual fall in her state of mind. Christine's mental illness plagued her and rendered her incapable of caring for Raimond. Despite the obvious frustration this would have caused, Raimond does not point blame upon his mother, rather he sees her as being highly misunderstood. Christine was a wild woman that came from middle class Central Europe to rural Australia. In writing of the depression that took over her, Gaitor talks of the landscape of Frogmore. "She could not settle in a dilapidated farmhouse in a landscape that highlighted her isolation." The migrant experience and having to move to the country due to financial difficulties is a reason for Christine's rebellious absence. The lacking motherly influence Raimond suffered as a child brought about a new parental figure that guided Raimond through childhood and gave him the lacking love and care to carry him to his adult years. Pantelimon Hora invested a great amount of time and energy into his best friend's son and also influenced Raimond in his moral and ethical thinking.
Raimond Gaitor suffered a tragic childhood. For a young boy growing up in harsh country conditions with the combination of an absent mother and a father who would later suffer mental illness, Raimond Gaitor amazingly grew to be a man of stable character. Much credit for Raimond's successful upbringing can be due to the influence of Pantelimon Hora. Whilst replacing Romulus during his routine visits to the mental institution, Hora also placed a maternal influence upon Raimond due to the lacking support and guidance of Christine. Sacrifice and care for others ran strong in both Romulus and Hora. Hora's love for Raimond should not be undermined the shear frustration and inconvenience caused by raising a boy of no family relation. Hora not only gave up time, energy and money in caring for Raimond, but he also gave up his job in caring for Raimond after Romulus's motorbike accident. Hora quotes in anger during a fiery confrontation with Christine at Frogmore "Shurrup!", "Not one more word. You should be here in the kitchen making your son's breakfast and his sandwiches. Not me." Gaitor later goes on to use the Latin term `loco parentis', meaning; to act as parents. This is exactly what Hora was to Raimond, a parental influence.
In writing Romulus, my father Raimond Gaitor is deliberately trying to set Romulus apart from his fellow man. Raimond Gaitor saw his father as a man of higher moral sensibility. There are many similarities in the character of both Romulus and Hora. Both men had two main moral requirements with which they passionately lived by. These being honesty and concern for one's neighbour. This becomes clear in both men by the way that Raimond is raised to be honest and the sacrifice placed on their own lives to care for Raimond. In recollecting upon his relationships with his father and Hora, Gaitor often writes in a tone of pride showing his appreciation for the way he was brought up by these two men. In writing of times where Romulus's mental illness was at its peak, Raimond reflects on his thoughts of the time that he should possibly move away from Frogmore. "I loved him too deeply and knew that after what we had shared at Frogmore, no quarrel could estrange us." Gaitor simply could not contemplate estrangement from his father after the influence he had already placed upon his life.
Pantelimon Hora not only had influence upon Raimond's teenage years but it also becomes apparent that Hora helped Raimond become familiar with his eventual chosen profession. Raimond Gaitor is now a philosopher and during his childhood Hora often told stories of what Gaitor describes as "men with ideals, devoted to science or to humanity", similarly the values shared by Romulus and Hora. Gaitor later goes on to write "I owe to Hora the development of my interest in ideas. Inclinations to delinquency ran strong in me at the time." And, "I owe that and the course of my life to Hora." Hora's aid in the development of Raimond's love for philosophy is yet another example of the profound influence this man had upon the life of Raimond Gaitor.
In conclusion, the absence of any child's mother is often likely to have a severe impact upon the state of mind of any child. The absence of Christine throughout Raimond's childhood did not have horrific consequences due to the care and absolute sacrifice of two life long friends. Both Romulus and Hora gave every possible means to ensure they influenced Raimond in the right direction and enabled Raimond to `live well' which was one of Romulus's driving forces throughout his life. In regard of Romulus and Hora's close friendship Gaitor writes; "On many occasions in my life I have had the need to say, and thankfully have been able to say: I know what a good workman is; I know what an honest man is; I know what friendship is; I know because I remember these things in the person of my father, in the person of his friend Hora, and the example of their friendship." These were the moral values, the sole beliefs Romulus and Hora attempted to teach Raimond above all else. Raimond's knowledge of these values ensures that the friendship between Romulus and Hora did have more influence on Raimond's life than the absence of his mother.