‘An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging’ Discuss this view with details reference to your prescribed text and ONE other related text of your own choosing. Belonging is to feel an affliction with someone or something. An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging.
The Poems “Feliks Skrzynecki” and St Patrick’s College written by Peter Skrzynecki explore the different and powerful influences that impact on an individual’s sense of belonging and the different aspects of belonging effectively, using poetic and literary techniques to convey meaning. The Film Karate Kid, directed by Harald Zwart also explores similar aspects of belonging effectively, through the use of film technique.
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In the poem “Feliks Skrzynecki” Peter Skrzynecki, presents a detailed poetic representation of his father Feliks, using visual imagery, poetic and literary technique to help shape the readers perceptions of his father whilst also informing the reader of the relationship Peter Skrzynecki shared with his father Feliks. Feliks identity is represented as a strong, determined and hardworking man who’s personality is marked by inner strength – “alert, brisk and silent” in that Peter admires.
Peter represents his admiration using a Possessive Pronoun in the First Stanza – “My” is seen as the possessive pronoun to establish the respected relationship between father & son Peter also suggests his “Five years of forced labour” to further emphasis on his father’s inner strength and Peters admiration. Feliks Polish identity is a key component of his identity, which limited his experience of belonging after his migration.
Peter speaks of his father’s reminiscences, experiences and cultural interactions shared with friends which enriched his sense of belonging- “Talking, they reminisced” “About farms where paddocks flowered with corn and wheat” “They were skilled in slaughtering” these were the elements that shaped his father’s early life, this is the life (world) that Peter feels alienated and excluded from. This exclusion is caused by the cultural divide of time, place and language in which Peter did not interact with, which cut Peter from the connection his father enjoys.
Peter’s lack of interaction is also represented in Stanza 2 where he is seen as the observer of the situation rather than the participant, these acts where the reason of Peters questioning of his father’s dedication (belonging) – “I often wondered how he existed”. Peter has clearly represented his alienation, not because of migrations process itself but by being the son of a person who has taken on such a journey in his life to belong in a country other than his homelands.
He observes and listens rather than participates, he acknowledges his father’s connection with his polish friends and with the garden but yet still is not able to share- “My father sits out the evening with his dog, smoking, watching stars and street lights come on, happy as I have never been” this quote using visual image illustrates that after a life of work Feliks is at rest with himself and his place in the present and seeing the past (watching stars) in the distance.
Another poem which presents the interaction of an individual with the others and the world around them in which limited their experience of belonging is “St- Patricks College”. In this poem Skrzynecki uses literary techniques and imagery to puts forward a bleak portrait of his school life. Throughout the poem Skrzynecki uses a formal tone to present an unenthusiastic feel towards school.
Skrzynecki’s attends this school because of his mother’s first impressions of the school uniform. The tone of “never thought” implies that she has not thought deeply of her choice, leading to a fast decision and being influenced by external appearances, “Impressed by the uniforms” for his mother believed “What was the best” but what he believed was just a superfitual education.
Skrzynecki’s lack of interaction with the other and the world around him is presented effectively through the Catholicism of College,” Out Lady watched with outstretched arms”, Our lady is seen as a Statue with no spiritual significance as she simply “watched with outstretched arms” irony is used in this quote as Skrzynecki did not feel belonged or cared by “Our Lady” even though her “outstretched arms” were aiming to do this instead he felt no connection and disjointed.
The interplay of light and dark is critical part in achieving idea of the lack of interaction with Skrzynecki and others or the world around him, which in this case is seen as the College. The interplay of light and dark is played throughout the poem, “Her face overshadowed by clouds” Skrzynecki uses imagery to convey the sense of belonging being covered with darkness. Her” is seen as Lady Mary in which he presents as a statue with “outstretched arms” that is supposed to make him feel belonged and connected with the college, yet her face “overshadowed by clouds” conveying his hope to belong being covered by darkness which signifies the lack of interaction with the college as he sees only darkness and no light as Lady Mary is the light of the school that is now overshadowed by darkness.
Skrzynecki uses a tone of resentment when quoting “For eight years I walked Strathfield’s paths and streets, Played chasing up and down the stations ten ramps“, this creates a dreading effect to the reader to effectively emphasis the lack of interaction with others and the world around him he had, no sense of belonging to this place, no reference to him feeling included in the school, no positive references to friendly company or school spirit as he saw others as “Voices at bus stops”.
The Simile “Like a foreign tourist” emphasises him as being an observer to nature and all the landmarks, with a lack of interaction with the world and others that surround him. This is used to emphasise his sense of alienation and displacement. The word “foreign” also suggests him being unable to share his thoughts or ideas and having not common links with others or the world around him and feeling isolated. Skrzynecki leaves this world (college) “Our lady still watching above, unchanged by eight years’… ith closed eyes”, this signifies the previous negative image indicating her as being blind, artificial and unseeing. It also implies that Skrzynecki felt no real spiritual interaction with his college (world), others or his faith. Another medium the explores the interaction of a young boy with the world and others around him that limited his experience of belonging is the film “Karate Kid” directed by Harald Zwart.