The Feeling of Belonging

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Belonging Essay (2 Related Texts)

Belonging is a multifaceted concept that highlights an individual’s inherent need to feel connection with his peers and in so doing, forge a sense of personal identity. This universal desire to belong can manifest itself in different ways, either by enriching us as individuals or by limiting us as individuals – in some cases because we cannot conform to social norms – in some cases because we refuse to comply with social expectations. All these ideas are present in Skrzynecki’s Immigrant Chronicle poems, Feliks Skrzynecki and St Patrick’s College, both of which explore the problems associated with the displacement that accompanies migration. These elements also manifest themselves in M.T. Anderson’s picture book Me all alone, at the end of the World which looks at the impact of globalization on the natural world as well as Alice Walker's short story The Flowers, which explores the concepts of inclusion and exclusion in a predominantly white and racist society. Individuals who cannot relate or form a connection with a dominant paradigm – particularly evident in the migrant experience – generally suffer periods of isolation and rejection. This is evident in St Patrick’s College, a school that is symbolic of Australian bourgeois values, a school to which the “employers’ sons” went. The symbolic statue of ‘our lady’, with ‘outstretched arms’ – a known gesture of protection and inclusivity – has been overshadowed with clouds, suggestive of the rejection and isolation experienced during his ‘eight years’ at that school. Skrzynecki's doubts about his inclusion in Australian society are further reinforced through the school motto ‘Luceat Lux Vestra’, with the sarcastic contextual reference to the soap brand ‘LUX’ highlighting his failure to feel connected with the school. This state of isolation is further clarified in the simile ‘like a foreign tourist’ which points out his inability to share feelings and experiences that would...
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