The Human Quest to Belong is Characterized by Both Belonging and Alienation

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The human quest to belong is characterised by both triumph and failure.

Belonging involves triumphing over failure to belong. This is seen in Peter Skrzynecki’s anthology Immigrant Chronicle. The poem St Patricks College explores the persona’s struggle to overcome alienation in his search for belonging. The poem Feliks Skrzynecki explores the persona witnessing his fathers triumph to belong. The picture book The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan explores the things initial failure to belong, which is then overcome.

St Patricks College explores the personas failure to belong into the school society. The imagery “our lady watched/ with outstretched arms” gives the persona hope that he will belong in this school. This gives an early sense of triumph in his quest to belong. This is then inverted when the statues face is seen to be “overshadowed by clouds”. This use of pathetic fallacy gives early warning that the school will not be a place where he belongs, but a place were he will fail to belong and become out casted. The personification heightens this feeling of exclusion by having a personal bond created between the two, which is then broken by the clouds. This gives a further feeling of isolation from the school.

The persona then tells of his exclusion from the school when he reminisces on his bus trips. “caught the 414 bus/ like a foreign tourist/ uncertain of my destination”, in this line the simile is coupled with the use of tautology. The simile of the persona being a foreign tourist gives him a lack of permanence in society, that he is a nomad with no sense of place. This is then contrasted with the repetition of “ eight years” which shows how in this time he should have found a sense of belonging. The persona referring to himself as a tourist, also shows how he is out casted from society and not accepted. This also gives a feeling of exclusion faced by the persona. The tautology of “foreign tourist” is used to increase the feeling of...
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