(Not) Belonging Essay, Skrzynecki's Poems 'Migrant Hostel' and 'Feliks Skrzynecki'
706 WordsDec 6th, 20103 Pages
Belonging is a complex, multi-faceted concept encompassing a wide range of different aspects. The need to belong to family and culture is a universal human need which provides a sense of value and emotional stability, and in many respects forges one’s identity. Alienation and disconnection often creates feelings of isolation, depression and loss of identity. A struggle with cultural identity is evident in Peter Skrzynecki’s poems ‘Migrant Hostel’ and ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’, where he examines a division between his pre-war Polish heritage and his newfound Australian way of life. The movement away from his European cultural heritage towards a more Australian identity created disorientation for Skrzynecki, and these feelings of disconnection…show more content…
The hostel is depicted as a place of insecurity where the individual identity has been removed and replaced with anonymity and insignificance ‘no one kept count of all the comings and goings’ and ‘arrivals of newcomers in busloads’. The poet also highlights the migrants need to seek out the familiar in people with the same nationality or culture, in search of a place to belong and a link to their former identities by connecting with other migrants, ‘ Nationalities sought each other out instinctively’.
The slowly widening generational gap between father and son and between cultures is explored in “Feliks Skrzynecki”. Although full of tender admiration for his father, who spent “Five years of forced labour in Germany”, the poet comments on his father’s strong need to focus only on his pre-war Polish culture, choosing to purposefully exclude himself from main-stream Australian society. Ironically, this caused a growing distance between father and son, as although his father feels he does belong and is content in his exclusion from Australian culture and society, Skrzynecki
Another basis for tension was the different experiences faced by both Peter and Feliks Skrzynecki. Feliks’ exposure to
...individual’s sense of identity. The anthology Immigrant Chronicle written by PeterSkrzynecki demonstrates how belonging is shown to contribute to an individual’s sense of identity. This can be seen throughout the poems of ‘10 Mary Street’ and ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’. Additionally, the 2004 film ‘Mean Girls’, directed Mark Waters also establishes how belonging contributes to identity. Through various form, figurative and audio techniques, these three texts display how belonging impacts an individual’s sense of identity. The poem of ‘10 Mary Street’ illustrates that when there is a lack of belonging experienced by an individual, it affects their sense of identity. This poem depicts the emotions evoked of an immigrant family during their immigration into Australian culture, and the relationship between the family, and their newfound home. A sense of routine is established through the first two lines, ‘For nineteen years / we departed’. Through this, connotations of stability and security arise, suggesting the family feels a sense of belonging to the home. This is further emphasised through the simile of ‘each morning, shut the house / like a well-oiled lock, as it implies that there is something of value within the home, that must be kept safe. Through this, it is suggested that the place of value worth protecting within the home, is the garden. The garden can be interpreted as a symbol for the Skrzynecki family’s...