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The positive and negative consequences of failing to belong or being socially accepted are evident in Skrzynecki’s poetry. Demonstrate your understanding of both aspects by reference to 10 Mary Street and another Skrzynecki poem set for study. In your response, close textual detail must be used to show understanding for varied conceptual ideas associated with belonging. Ensure that the poetic devices used to explore these issues are clearly evaluated. Belonging is a person’s way of having attachment, security and sharing with a group of friends, their family, race and cultural background.
Belonging is a fundamental need for every person. Being accepted or belonging to a group can enrich our experiences by communicating and working with partners. A research shows that a person who feels included tends to be healthier, happier and has a longer life expectancy than a person who is facing isolation.
Sense of failing to belong or being socially accepted is explored within the poem “10 Mary Street” and “Felik Skrzynecki” by Peter Skrzynecki.
The poet’s house includes warmth and intimacy. It symbolises new opportunity for the poet’s family. The address 10 Mary Street provided the family sense of security, stability and reliability after they arrived at an unfamiliar country facing unpredictable physical and emotional change. This address evokes the poet’s old memories about living with his family and the house provided them a shelter from the unfamiliar country. The theme of “Felik Skrzynecki” highlights the displacement between different generations with distinctive heritage can affect a person’s identity.
Different types of belonging such as belong to mother country Poland and Australian community, are conveyed by describing the lifestyle of his father and the adaptation the poet faced.
In addition, the poet explores the idea of family members respecting each other despite their different perceptions of the Australian culture. It is extremely hard for Poet’s father Felik to adapt to Australian community. This can be seen in the cliché “Kept pace only with the Joneses of his own mind’s making- “. It also shows that Felik is a self-sufficient person who takes pride in his own garden and achieves his personal goal rather than do things within stereotype. We can see Felik’s life is tedious and boring because he communicated with garden every day, it is shown by the simile “Loved his garden like an only child” and the hyperbole “Ten times around the world”.
The garden is symbol of the Felik’s connection with mother land Poland. From the above, we can see it is hard for Felik to adapt in Australian community. Thus the discrimination he faced is being conveyed through the rhetorical question “Did your father ever attempt to learn English”, because of his strong English accent and shortage of vocabulary. Felik felt included when he reminisced with his old friends because he still kept his original identity. From his way of getting along with friends “Always shook hands too violently”, he felt mentally stable because of keeping his Polish traditions. The other advantage of failing to belong is that it drives the relationships between family members closer. Migrants easily rely on their family members when they are facing difficulties about adapting into a new community.
Teenagers find it easier to adapt into new contexts than adult. Home is the most important place for the poet’s parents to seek their sense of belonging because they feel included at home. The poet’s parents took great care of their garden, this is reflected through the simile ‘like adopted children’. Therefore, they have less chance to assimilate into the community and they are hardly accepting the social life. However, Peter is more likely to accept or attach to Australian culture. From the quote “Naturalized more than a decade ago”, Peter’s way of life is similar to most Australians. The quote ‘I forgot my first Polish word’ shows that the attachment between Peter and his mother land Poland was slightly disappearing.
After the poet’s family settled down in 10 Mary Street, they had a routine life every day that can be shown in the quote ‘To school and work’. At work, Peter’s parents find their sense of belonging when they are working with partners. At school, Peter can make a lot of friends by joining a group or helping each other when facing difficulties. In summary, migrants not only need to learn how to adapt to their new situation, but that it is also essential to keep their original identity by speaking their mother language, celebrating festivals and keeping original habits. Migrants are a part of multiculturalism but are more likely to face discrimination.
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