BELONGING ESSAY – Tim DiGregorio
The multifaceted concept of belonging can negatively impact a person’s life, as not belonging to a social group can consume their self-esteem. The notion of belonging will be further explored in the poems: ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ and ‘St Patrick’s College’ by Peter Skrzynecki, and the film, ‘Happy Feet’ directed by George Miller. These texts all hinder similar aspects of not belonging to the social norm, whereby the characters all develop their own sense of belonging to self. Cultural alienation is demonstrated through Peter Skrzynecki’s attempts to understand his heritage and place in Australian society. In ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ the English language is portrayed as a complex barrier for Feliks to understand whilst he is faced with certain challenges in his attempts to integrate to the Australian way of life. The tone of the department clerk suggests an irritated character who through the metaphor ‘dancing bear grunts’ expresses his dissatisfaction of an unmotivated migrant failing to learn the language of his new home. The typical struggles a migrant faces, similarly to those of Feliks are ones of attempted cultural assimilation, while his “cultural baggage” can often hinder his attempts to fit into a new society. Feliks was unable to assimilate and self-forced himself to create a place where he felt he belonged, as referred to in the personified simile: ‘loved his garden like an only child’. Here we see a clear example of the migrant’s unsuccessful attempt to ‘fit in’ to society and as a result of obstacles such as heritage and assimilation by outside forces, Feliks was led to cultural alienation. An individual’s sense of belonging to a place is determined by factors such as social inclusion. In St Patrick’s College both Peter Skrzynecki and his mother have different opinions on what it means to belong to a society. “Mother enrolled me at St Pat’s with never a thought to fees and expenses” shows his mother’s idea on belonging to the...
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