(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
...be achieved through embracing one's own identity, despite popular believe that we must change ourselves and adopt the traits of mainstream society in order to belong. As illustrated in Peter Skrzynecki's Immigrant Chronicle poetry, having a strong sense of self-knowledge & understanding - and a deep connection to one's own culture, beliefs and values - develops a feeling of belonging to and knowing one's self, and in turn, a strong sense of belonging to humanity. 'Feliks Skrzynecki', 'St Patrick's College' and '10MaryStreet' all support this thesis and position the reader to consider the concepts of belonging from the perspective of someone who feels alienated, excluded and alone. The poem 'Feliks Skrzynecki' tells us of Peter's father, his life, and his clear sense of belonging. It explores the concepts of familial, cultural and self-belonging, and reveals the regretful feelings of Peter, in relation to his alienation, his family's migration and the filial bond with his father. The clear and possibly most significant message of the poem is that belonging comes from within, and requires an accepting and peaceful attitude. These concepts are expressed through the use of poetic devices and language techniques, which show the differences between the attitudes of father and son. The admiration Peter has for his father is evident in the first line -"My gentle...