How is the concept of Belonging represented in Peter Skrzynecki's poetry? - Feliks Skrzynecki, 10 Mary Street and St Patrick's College

Essay by akmorrison November 2009

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Belonging to one's self is essential in order to belong to humanity. It is a sense that can only 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 '10 Mary Street' 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 father." The use of the word 'gentle' introduces Feliks as a kind, peaceful man, and the possessive pronoun 'my' can suggest a sense of ownership or the yearning to be associated with Feliks. The father's independence and emotional self-sufficiency is evident in the first stanza - "Kept pace only with the Joneses of his own mind's making". The reference to 'The...