Peter Skrzynecki’s Poem Analysis

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Feliks Skrzynecki| Ancestors| St Patricks College|
-Despite forging a physical sense of belonging within Australia, the poets father is unwilling to facilitate an emotional sense of belonging due to his allegiance to his Polish ancestry-It is evident that Feliks is of the opinion that an alliance to the Australian culture on an emotional or spiritual level would paradoxically generate a detachment from his Polish ancestry-The father is another loop in the perpetual chain of identity that is the Polish culture however has alienated himself from the Australian culture“My gentle father kept pace only with the Joneses of his own minds making” – this phrase indicates Feliks individualism in the face of Australian identityThe phrase ‘remnants of a language I inherited unknowingly’ represents the poets unwillingness to conform to his Polish ancestry, despite a sense of obligation and responsibility generated through his parentage“After that, like a dumb prophet, watched me pegging my tents further and further South of Hadrian’s wall” - this poetic metaphor indicates the detachment the persona feels from his own father and subsequent disorientation due to the absence of an emotional sense of belonging-Feliks spent his own childhood in Poland and therefore has an emotional attachment, generated through memories. Juxtaposed to this is the poets own childhood which at the age of 3 was disrupted when his family choose to migrate to Australia. This contextual allusion indicates that an emotional or spiritual sense of belonging can only be facilitated with time and with the creation of memories to which the poet had neither in Poland.-The poets obligation to belong is a divisive force as he struggles between Polish ancestry and Australian assimilation, each alienating the otherDominant notion of belonging is that an emotional sense of belonging can only be facilitated with time and personal experience. Therefore, without time and memories, a sense of belonging can only be physical which is impermanent and inevitably alienating“Watching stars and street lights come on, happy as I have never been”“Pegging my tents further and further South of Hadrian’s Wall”How we relate thisAlbert Camus – The Outsider-The protagonists sense of belonging is only physical due to the fact that he has isolated himself from partaking in social normalities and therefore does not have the personal experience to facilitate a sense of emotional belonging-Self-inflicted alienation is evident in the quote “pegging my tents further and further south of Hadrian’s wall” – metaphoric of distancing oneself -Hadrian’s wall is representative of the safety and alienation of outsiders that are inherent of belonging-Therefore, the persona is moving away from the supposed safety of belonging and is resisting his obligation to affiliate. -This is similar to the persona in The Outsider distancing himself from the collective identity of society“I explained the peculiar expression I had of being out of place.... a bit like an intruder”“..... description of a trial that is more an assessment of values and one’s ability to conform rather than being a trial predicated upon guilt and risk to society”-Meursault did not cry at his own mother’s funeral, this seemingly minute piece of evidence is the basis of Meursault’s eventual execution “The qualities of an ordinary man could be used as damning evidence of guilt”| -The poem explores the fundamentally dichotomous nature of belonging-Tension between past and present subsequently create two forces of identity, each alienating the other-Poet caught in a perpetual chain of identity that is generating an obligation to conform and belong-Polish ancestry, represented though haunting spectral figures, is demanding appreciation and recognition-Figures are thus symbol of the poets ancestral past-Enigmatic nature of the spectral figures looming in the poets subconscious make Skrzynecki inarticulate due to his lack of understanding “Tongue...
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