Our idea of belonging is a result of the choices that we make. We feel a sense of acceptance wherever we choose to belong. This is explored in Peter Skrzyneckis poem Feliks Skrzynecki and St Patricks showed the ides of alienation and belonging. They are shown through various techniques such as an allusion, direct speech and many more poetic techniques. Feliks Skrzynecki is a poem that shows a tribute to Peter Skrzyneckis father. Through the use of powerful and vivid imagery, the poet successfully conveys Feliks as a man who is comfortable, content and secure in his own identity.
In this poem, concepts of belonging and not belonging occur within place, family, community and culture. The first stanza emphasizes the idea of belonging. Feliks sets standards ‘of his own minds making’. He is comfortable in belonging to his own world, his garden, family and cultural heritage. This is further emphasized through the use of the simile ‘ loved his garden like an only child’ which demonstrates the love he possessed for his garden. The garden can also be interpreted as Feliks constructed world: a place he escapes to in order to feel a sense of belonging.
The garden is also the reward for his hard work. Skrzynecki’s poem ‘St. Patricks College’ displays how a sense of belonging is influenced by external forces. For someone to belong to something they must make their own decisions in life, understand their surroundings and build relationships with those around them. These qualities are lacked by Skrzynecki in ‘St. Patrick’s College’ which resulted in him not belonging. Skrzynecki was sent to this school because his mother was ‘only wanting, “what was best”’.
The direct speech is a cliche as every parent wants what is best for their child. The irony of the situation was that ‘for eight years’ sending Skrzynecki to St. Patrick’s College ‘Wasn’t “for the best”. He did not understand the ways of the school which led to his lack of belonging. The repetition of the phrase ‘for eight years’ reinforces how long the alienation and detachment lasted for, the feeling of not belonging did not change for eight years. The use of the personal pronoun ‘I’ throughout the poem gives a dreary, detached tone which emphasises his loneliness.
No relationships with students, teachers or anyone else at the school were formed over his time there. The time at the school was useless as highlighted by ‘I could say the lord’s prayer in Latin, all in one breath. ’ He claims that as what he received from eight years at the school, a useless skill. Skrzynecki found it so hard to belong to St. Patrick’s College because the decision to go to the school was not his own, he did not understand his surroundings and he did not build any relationships with those around him.
In Conclusion the ability to belong can be affected by understanding, choices, culture, relationships and experience. In the poem “Feliks Skrzynecki” showed the sense of belonging in the respective place, like his garden. In contrast, the poem “St Patricks College” showed that Skrzynecki lacked in building any relationship with those around him. Peter Skrzynecki used various to show the alienation and belonging in the poems “Feliks Skrzynecki” and St Patricks College”.
Courtney from Study Moose
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