Belonging Skrzynecki/the Breakfast Club

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Changing circumstances can precipitate a change in our intimate relationships. The 1980 John Hughes film The Breakfast Club may seem like just another angst filled high school movie, which in some parts it may be, but in fact, this film is unique because of its exploration of certain ideas of belonging. For example, the idea that people, no matter how different their personalities are, will bond together when they are isolated and a mutual enemy is presented to them. The Skrzynecki poem Migrant Hostel fits with this message while St Patrick’s College conveys the opposite.

St Patrick’s College by Peter Skrzynecki examines Skrzynecki’s time at a Catholic college that his mother forced him to attend. He feels excluded from the moment he enters and his view does not change once he has graduated. The ominous imagery of Mary, “With outstretched arms, her face overshadowed by clouds,” supports the message that Skrzynecki felt unwelcome from his very first day at this school. “For eight years,” is repeated twice in this poem, enforcing the drudgery felt by the poet because of his lack of belonging. The poem is ended with the line “Before I let my light shine.” By using the metaphorical “light”, Skrzynecki is communicating his feeling of relief at finally being out of a dark place and being free from this place that he has formed no emotional attachment to after being there for an exceptional amount of time, which completely contrasts with The Breakfast Club.

The initial feelings of being secluded and uncomfortable that are explored in St Patrick’s College are shared in the first few minutes of The Breakfast Club but while Skrzynecki remains excluded, the characters in The Breakfast Club congeal together and find hope in their unfortunate circumstances. The high angled shot of the characters in detention in-between low angled shots of the teacher convey the students’ lack of authority. It shows that they are powerless in their presence at detention and their...
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