Ancestors Peter Skrzynecki

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A sense of belonging emerges from the connections people make within their world. Belonging can cause individuals to form positive connections with many aspects of our world, but in accordance with this there are many barriers to belonging, seen through the poem ‘Ancestors’ which shows Peter Skrzynecki’s failure to comprehend his cultural identity. Neglecting the commitment of one’s cultural identity forfeits one’s ability to accept themselves and thus belong in themselves. The protagonist in ‘Ancestors’ experiences confusion as he has no capability to communicate with his ancestors. He fails to establish a connection to his heritage, limiting his ability to understand them. The interrogating tone of the poem, symbolised through the persona’s questions ranging from “who” to “what” to “why” to “how”, proves this lack of identity as five out of the seven stanza’s end in a question hence accentuating his displacement. Expressed through the use of the word “you” the character’s disassociation with his self is explored as he refers to himself as a separate being, “why do you wake as…”, revealing his failure to identify with his self and hence increases his sense of confusion and loneliness. The alliteration of the men “standing shoulder to shoulder” further emphasies the persona’s isolation in comparison to the unity of the ghostly figures. Skrzynecki uses the blood allusion in “The wind tastes of blood” to show that connecting to our ancestors is in our blood. However, the persona’s sense of alienation from the “faceless men” provides visual imagery of the ancestors physically making the barrier to belonging. The failure to connect brings about frustration as he becomes haunted trying to comprehend what his dreams mean. Without acknowledging and understanding our cultural identity the experience of not belonging is strengthened as seen through ‘Ancestors’. As a result, empathising with our heritage develops our ability to belong and consequently a lack of this...
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