‘An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can limit or enrich their experience of belonging.’ Belonging is central to how we define ourselves: our belonging to or connection emerges from interaction with people and places. Belonging is a distinct identity characterised by affiliation, acceptance and association. Belonging is shaped by personal, cultural, historical and social contexts. By increasing their understanding of themselves and the world around them they can limit or enrich their experience of belonging. These judgements are epitomised in Peter Skrzynecki’s Immigrant Chronicle’s, a collection of poems that consists of 10 Mary Street and Migrant Hostel, which detail the migrant experience and the barriers which limited their experience of belonging. Contrasting perceptions of belonging are presented in the well profound novel Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta which highlights the limitations in belonging due to racial difficulties encountered within society.
Skrzynecki’s poem 10 Mary Street tells the story of the house that Peter and his mother Kornelia and his father Feliks moved into in 1951, after arriving in Australia from Germany. It also features an in-depth description of his childhood in relation to living at 10 Mary street. Also included in this poem is the description of the connection that Peter has with his parents. A reoccurring theme of time is present throughout the poem 10 Mary Street. This is shown with the constant repetition of the line “for nineteen years”. The use of this repetition allow us to engage as to how long Peter had stayed at the house as well as to reinforce the long period of time in which he had enriched his experience of belonging to the house as well as his parents. The garden is also an important aspect of their lives, where the poet’s parents “watered plants – grew potatoes… like adopted children”, stressing their strong connection to the home. To Peter, who was a child himself, the...
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