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I think that the fundamental issue of belonging is shown to be dealt with in different manners through both works. The common thread is that mental illness precludes it from happening to both protagonists. Romulus, My Father suggests that belonging is possible. For a while, Romulus does experience belonging with his business and his desire to make a life for his wife and child. Yet, his mental illness precludes this experience from being widely experienced. Romulus is relegated to being on the periphery because of his mental illness and this makes belonging very difficult. Travis' own mental condition precludes belonging, as well. Travis is paranoid about the world around him, convinced of his role as a crusading messianic figure who is out to cleanse the filth around him. Travis' own paranoia and sense of anger is embedded within his mental psyche. It is here where one can see how his need to belong, an innate need to be accepted, is precluded. Travis' mental condition is one in which he will never experience full belonging, and like Romulus, is forced to look at society from the outside peering in.
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