“To what extent is an individual’s sense of belonging determined by external forces?”
An individual is significantly influenced by their surrounding when striving to achieve a sense of belonging with others and oneself. Individual’s identity is solely shaped from how they belong in the world, differentiating us from everyone else. An individual’s interaction with people, society, and community and their response will determine if we’re able to develop a sense of belonging or not. They may choose to reject and challenge our behavior; character, values and beliefs making us feel excluded. But only when these features are accepted and recognized we’re able to gain a sense of belonging. This concept of external forces affecting an individual’s sense of belonging is explored in Peter Skrzynecki’s poems ‘St Patrick’s College’ and ‘In the folk Museum". These are the poems from the Immigrant Chronicles which are a collection of Peter’s and his family’s migrant experiences and their endeavor to gain a sense of acceptance and belonging in their new country. This is a similar situation reconnoitered in the graphic novel The Arrival by Shaun Tan, where the author captures every move and thought of the migrant who strives to fit in into the new environment and people. Belonging in any sense is not possible without the affirmative of others. We as individuals rely on others to for acceptance and affection in order to belong. However, at times our thoughts and values may clash with others such, as the community or the society, preventing us from achieving a sense of belonging. This sense of detachment is evident in ‘St Patrick’s College’, where Peter is forced to attend a Catholic school by his mother who is “Impressed by the uniform”; the use of adjective here shows his mothers had high aspirations for her son. “What was best” this dialogue cliché indicates that his migrant mother wants her son to be educated in a way that will help him...
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