“Feliks Skrzynecki” although a paean of admiration for his father, reveals a growing disconnection between the two. The poem reflects aspects of post World War Two life for migrants in Australia, providing a viewpoint from the influx of migrants from the war-torn countries of Europe and the racism they endured under the White Australia Policy. This racism is manifested through the clerk’s ignorant question ‘Did your father ever attempt to learn English?’ Ironically, it is the clerk who is demeaned in this vivid memory; the incorporation of direct speech enhances the clerk’s arrogance through his hostile attitude.
However the growing tension between father and son is apparent in the comment ‘His Polish friends always shook hands too violently’ reflecting the disconnection and alienation due to generational differences in cultural experience evident in the impersonal ‘His’. A constant feeling of isolation is experienced throughout the poem and is apparent in Skrzynecki’s comment ‘That formal address I never got used to’. The formalities of his father’s European culture absent in Australian culture leads to feelings of disconnection experienced by the son for his father. Throughout the poem he suggests his father maintains elements of his European culture through his garden, expressed by his tender simile ‘Loved his garden like an only child’ suggesting the nurturing devotion to his garden like a parent to his offspring.
This nurturing image is further developed in “10 Mary Street”. This poem reflects on Peter Skrzynecki’s strong sense of belonging to a specific place, 10 Mary Street and the fond memories which are going to be demolished along with his home. The poem conveys Skrzynecki’s sense of security and belonging to the environment in which he has existed ‘For nineteen years’. He connects with suburban landmarks in the colloquial terms ‘rusty bucket’, ‘bridge’ and ‘factory’, displaying his familiarity with his surroundings. Further colloquial language,...
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