The Struggle of Belonging

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The struggle to belong and to find one’s place is significant in the lives of some people. In what ways is this struggle represented in your prescribed text and at least ONE other related text of your choosing. Response

The struggle to belong is more significant in the lives of some people than in the lives of others. In the poetry of Immigrant chronicle (IC), for the persona of “Feliks Skryznecki”(“FS”) the struggle to belong is more significant than it is for his father Similarly in the song Tenterfield saddler(TS) by Peter Allen the persona’s struggle to belong is more significant than that of his grandfather. However, in “10 Mary street” (“10MS”) the persona’s struggle is insignificant. The persona’s father “Feliks” in “FS” struggled in regards to familial belonging but belonged in his own way socially, historically and culturally. Feliks’ struggle to belong on a familial level to his son is best represented by the metaphor “He.../like a dumb prophet/ Watched me pegging my tents/ Further and further south of Hadrian’s Wall.” This use of figurative language and historical imagery aptly conveys the gradual progression of the persona away from his father’s culture and history, which is likened to the uncivilised barbarian ways north of the Wall, towards the civilised Romanised society “south” of the Wall, which is symbolic of the western culture. All the while, Feliks plays the oxymoronic “dumb prophet”, able to fortell what will happen, yet unable to speak out or prevent it. Thus the struggle to belong to his son is significant to a degree in Feliks’ life. Yet socially Feliks did belong in his own way. The uniquness of his belonging is represented through the use of the idiom “My… father/ Kept pace only with the Joneses/ Of his own mind’s making”, illustrating that Feliks did not feel the need to keep up with social trends to belong, as such things were insignificant in his view. However the belonging he experienced in a social regard is strongly suggested by the mention of “His Polish friends”. This perception of belonging is confirmed in the following lines, which also indicate Feliks’ cultural and historical belonging. The lines describe how “Feliks” and “His…friends” “reminisced/ About farms where paddocks flowered/ with corn and wheat,/ Horses they bred, pigs”, in what is a rich collage of pastoral imagery alluding to a shared culture and history in agricultural Poland. In this regard the struggle to belong is not significant for Feliks, as he has found his place. The persona, however, struggles to belong in the same way that Feliks, his father, belongs. This is most apparent where the persona recounts “On the back steps of his house,…///My father sits out…/With his dog, smoking, /Watching stars and street lights… /Happy as I have never been.” Here a sense of belonging is once again represented by way of a collage that culminates in the luminous imagery of “stars and street lights”. These things combine to convey with a certainty that Feliks had found his “place” in the comfort of his home and as a result was “Happy”. But at this point the belonging Feliks enjoys is already largely established, so this representation of belonging has greater effect in that it contrasts with the son’s situation. Whilst the list of images suggest the desire of the son to have what Feliks has, it is the final line “Happy as I have never been” which serves to juxtapose the two cases. In doing this it highlights that the persona is not happy as his father is happy and therefore implies that he does not belong in the same way but, as stated above, wishes to. This lack of belonging is also suggested where the persona relates “That formal address/ I never got used to.” The use of absolute adverb “never” is particularly emphatic in portraying the inability of the persona to belong to his father’s social group and culture, of which the “Polish friends” and “formal address” are part. Hence it is evident that in a numbers...
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