Peter Skrzynecki

April 25, 2018 Music

‘We are driven by 5 ultimate needs: survival, love, power, freedom and belonging’. – William Glasser. The concept of belonging is a fundamental aspect of humanitism, which can have large repercussions on an individual’s sense of identity. The anthology Immigrant Chronicle written by Peter Skrzynecki 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’.

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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 polish heritage, which is why the family protects the garden, and cares for it.

This can be seen through the quote ‘Tended to roses and camellias /like adopted children’. Through this, it is evident that the family feels a sense of belonging to their home, as it provides them with a cultural link back to their heritage through the garden. Thus, their sense of identity is impacted positively by their connection and belonging to the home as it provides them with cultural meaning, in which they value. Likewise, the poem of ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ also portrays how belonging impacts an individual’s sense of identity.

This poem emphasises Feliks’ nationalism, acceptance and pride of his culture, and how he did not marginalise to the social conventions and norms of Australia, as he was largely independent and demarcated from mainstream Australia. This independence is demonstrated within the first stanza, through the quote, ‘Kept pace only with the Joneses of his own minds makings’, and additionally, through the simile ‘Loved his garden like an only child’, it shows Feliks’ strong immersion to his Polish heritage, due to the garden symbolising his link back to Poland, thus creating a sense of belonging between Feliks, and his garden.

Thus, through Feliks’ connection to the garden, it symbolises how his sense of identity is developed through belonging to his heritage, thus further showing how belonging can impact a sense of identity. Furthermore, the film ‘Mean Girls’, directed by Mark Waters continues to explore how belonging can impact an individual’s sense of identity. The beginning of the film starts off at the family home of Cady Haren a 16 year old girl beginning high school after 8 years of home-schooling.

Through the tonality of the major key, and the constant harmonious rhythm of the music, it suggests normality, and a sense of belonging arises. Conversely, as the first day of school begins, Cady becomes disconnected and dethatched due to feeling alienated. This is evident through the use of music with a fast tempo, change in tone and a thick texture due to a wide range of instruments used. Through this, it shows how Cady’s identity is lost when entering a setting where she does not belong.

This is further exemplified as Cady begins to interrelate between cliques within the school as she tries to fit in. When Cady becomes associated with the clique known as the ‘plastics’, her true identity is lost, as she only belongs superficially to the group as a prank. Belonging is shown to impact her sense of identity, as when Cady is associating with particular groups, she alters her values the way she behaves to fit the social conventions of the group.

Thus, this text shows how belonging can impact on an individual’s sense of identity, as when belonging superficially, it does not portray the individual’s true identity. Thus, the texts of ‘10 Mary Street’ and ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’, written by Peter Skrzynecki, and the film ‘Mean Girls’, directed by Mark Waters, it is evident that belonging is shown to contribute to an individuals sense of belonging, which is demonstrated through the apprehension of a variety of figurative and audio techniques.


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