In "Looking for Alibrandi" the author, Melina Marchetta demonstrates the concept of cultural background, through not only the main character, Josephine, but through her whole family as well.
Josie has to come to terms with her Italian heritage, but wants to escape from it, and her cultural customs are an embarrassment to her. On example of this is tomato day, or as she likes to call it "National Wog Day".
As Josie goes through schooling, and as she finishes her studies in year 12, she is considered by her family, and others, as an outcast, and is seen in the Italian eye as disrespectful to her Italian heritage. This is one of the reasons she wants to escape from it all.
Josie has expectations and guidelines to live up to, for example she has to visit her Nonna every day after school, which is a hostile task. She finds her Italian culture and her family overpowering and exhausting.
She feels that she does not belong to a social group, wether it be because of her Italian heritage, not having a father, or both.
As the story continues, Josephine begins to understand her Nonna, and what happened in her life. Through hearing and listening to her Nonna, she realizes the complications and sacrifices her Nonna, and her family, made when the came to Australia.
Continually through the novel Josephine, Christina, and Katia continually fight and argue, about certain topics, such as her mother going out. When Josephine finds out that they should actually be a Sandford, as her supposed Nonna was out at War, this environment changes, and through Josephine's eyes, Nonna is a hypocrite. This makes Josie even more angry, as the evil eye has been on her and Christina, while Nonna has done even worse.