Peter Skrzynecki Belonging Essay

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“The poems of Peter Skrzynecki convey a sense of both alienation and the hope for a brighter future. Discuss with reference to at least 3 poems.”

Belonging is a broad but complex perception that highlights our sub conscious need to feel a connection with something. A sense of belonging or not belonging can produce a strong emotional response within us. The poems Feliks Skrzynecki, St Patricks College and Postcard by Peter Skyrzynecki adopt the common themes of alienation and hope for a brighter future. The theme of alienation is more decisively depicted in the poems Feliks Skrzynecki and St Patricks college, in which the persona is in a continuos battle to find his true identity and in doing so ‘let his light shine’. On the other hand, the poem Postcard is somewhat a collision of the speaker’s two world’s, his own quest to belong and embrace the Australian culture whilst also trying to hang onto his Polish heritage. The composer emphasises these themes through the implementation of techniques including extended metaphors, allusions and personification. Ultimately, the poems mentioned above intricately recognise the feeling of alienation and hope for a brighter future.

The poem Feliks Skrzynecki conveys a sense of alienation which is epitomised through the bitter-sweet relationship between the father and son. The speaker’s cultural alienation from the father is decisively explored in the final stanza of the poem in which an extended metaphor is implemented to show the shift from adopting his father’s heritage to embracing the Australian culture. The speaker first claims how embarrassed he was when ‘[he] forgot [his] first Polish word’ until further comparing his father to ‘a dumb prophet’ who could do nothing but ‘watch [him] peg [his] tents further and further south of Hadrian’s Wall’. The oxymoron and simile ‘like a dumb prophet’ shows the true sadness associated with the helpless father as he can see his son drifting away from him but cannot prevent it...
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