Peter Skryznecki

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Explore how perceptions of belonging and not belonging can be influenced by connections to places.

Throughout his life, Peter Skryznecki went through times where he felt as if he belonged and experienced times where he also felt alienated and lost. These perceptions were shaped by his personal, cultural and social experiences. His sense of belonging and not belonging also emerged from his connection with certain places. This is seen in his two poems St Patrick’s College and Feliks Skryznecki.

In the poem St Patrick’s College, Skryznecki writes about how in the eight years he spent at the school he never felt any sort of connection with it or that he fit in. He speaks about how “Our lady watched with outstretched arms.” Where he uses ironic imagery to question the ability of the statue to provide warmth as well as comfort and protection. This shows that from the first days at St Pats he never felt any sort of connection with the school and that when he looked at the statue no sense of reassurance or acceptance was ever felt, this foreshadows how his feelings will remain unchanged for the rest of his time at the school and that he will never feel any sort of inclusion during his time at St Pats.

As the poem goes on Skrzynecki implies that whilst he did appreciate everything his mother did to ensure he was given the best education possible he did not appreciate the school itself because of the schools inability to provide him with any sense of belonging. This is seen when he vandalizes the school motto by sticking pine needles into it, this symbolizes how he has little respect for the school and does not value the motto and this really emphasises his feelings of seclusion. It also shows his ignorance and does not seem to understand how much his mother has done for him.

Everyday Skyrznecki had to travel quite far to get to and from school; he uses a simile in stanza three to convey his lack of connection with the school and the suburb where the school...
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