To belong to a group or society gives us a sense of purpose and heightens our identity and well being over time. Nonetheless, there are still situations where isolation is experienced which can have harmful effects on an individual’s well being. The desire for a sense of belonging drives us to search for ways to find it. One way is through ‘place’. A person or group can belong to a particular place, which can enhance the level of belonging between the place, person or group. These perceptions of belonging and not belonging to place are explored in Peter Skrzynecki’s “Feliks Skrzynecki” and “St Patrick’s college”. The themes that strengthen Peter’s message are assimilation and the search for identity. He also uses language techniques such as metaphors, similes and imagery to effectively show the linkages to place.
The first stanza of “Feliks Skrzynecki” shows how Peter feels about his father. “My gentle father…” He then moves to a different emotion, ...view middle of the document...
Feliks has come to a new country, but has made it familiar through the garden. We can see here how much place can negatively influence ones sense of belonging. Similarly in ‘St Patrick’s College’ he feels a sense of disconnection to the school. “…I stuck pine needles into the motto…” represents his misunderstanding of the schooling system shows the lengthiness of his disconnection from school. The motto is a symbol of what all the pupils of that school belong to. His act of destroying the symbol shows that he does not belong to school or ‘place’.
Feliks cannot share his father’s contempt because he has nothing to strongly relate to. It is evident in ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ that Peter is excluded in conversations about Poland. Peter uses imagery to show his remembrance of what his father and ‘Polish friends’ always talked about. “…Farms where paddocks flowered with corn and wheat…pigs they were skilled in slaughtering.” His lack of communication and disconnection from Poland shows how he does not belong. He then finishes the stanza in a positive tone displaying the tenderness of his father, “…forced labour in Germany did not dull the softness of his blue eyes…” The poet is also ignorant of his Polish culture, “At thirteen… I forgot my first Polish word.” In ‘St Patrick’s College he also feels disconnected as he uses the simile, “Caught the 414 bus like a foreign tourist…” which gives the reader a visual image. This shows his lack of belonging to Australia as well as Poland.
Similar to ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ ‘St Patrick’s College’ provides an individuals perspective on what it means to belong to a community. The use of imagery, “Our lady watched with outstretched arms…” signifies warmth and acceptance. The metaphor, “…overshadowed by the clouds…” foreshadows Peter’s detachment from the school. Further disengaging Skrzynecki, the utilisation of enjambment ‘under the principals window / I stuck pine needles…’ accumulates the growing absence of understanding that Peter has for school. The insufficiency of knowledge and respect for the schooling system, “…the darkness around me…” demonstrates his self-centered decision of disapproval for the schooling system. This shows that he still cannot connect to place, which in this occurrence is school.