Belonging

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For all of us, fulfilment is generally achieved through the act of belonging and the connections that we have with various individuals, groups and places. However, acceptance and belonging is not always reached. This idea of self-discovery and belonging is presented in various ways in the poems, ‘St Patrick’s College’ and ‘Postcard’ by Peter Skrzynecki and the visual text featuring a girl celebrating her 10th birthday. Despite our individual identities, everyone requires the sense of connection, and by being an accepted member of a group makes us feel as if we are an important part of something much greater than ourselves. It is the association we have with others, not isolation, that leads to the sense of fulfilment. The poem ‘St Patrick’s College’ by Peter Skrzynecki is an excellent depiction of the persona’s unfulfillment along with his inability to connect, or establish a close relationship with the school community. The persona acknowledges his feeling of isolation in “Like a foreign tourist/ Uncertain of my destination”. The use of simile suggests his alienation as well as his insecurity by expressing this in the form of a tourist exploring, but not belonging. The persona questions whether his school experience was “for the best” due to the darkness he endured for eight years. This darkness is his lack of education even though he had mentioned that he learnt a lot, most of it was rote learning in a cold, unhappy environment. “Mass was offered up/For our departing intentions” suggests that the persona had a lack of direction and reflected the absence of preparation needed for the future with intentions that were not fulfilled. At the end of the poem, the persona mentions that his school experience “wasn’t for the best/ before I let my light shine”. The positive tone and metaphor of embracing and developing individual talents suggests that he is looking forward to a better future where he can develop a sense of connection with the wider environment even...
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