Belonging Essay - Peter Skrzynecki

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Personal context plays an important role in defining Peter Skrzynecki’s individual and private sense of belonging as conveyed in both his poems, ‘Migrant Hostel’ and ’10 Mary Street’. By exploring and analysing both poems, the responder understands that an individual’s sense of belonging or not belonging does vary. Moreover, Skrzynecki’s social and cultural experiences add to our understanding of his notion of identity and acceptance with in Australia. Therefore, Skrzynecki’s poetic techniques and language forms expose his true connections to social statues among a group or to a community. The film ‘the pursuit of Happiness’ interestingly alludes to the notion of not belonging through construction of character and film techniques.
Skrzynecki’s poems ‘10 Mary Street’ and ‘Migrant Hostel’ particularly demonstrate the positive and negative effects place can have on one’s ability to belong. ’10 Mary Street’ deals with a younger Skrzynecki’s experiences living within his working class family home in a positive environment whilst ‘Migrant Hostel’ deals with the very early memories of living in the migrant camps within Australia and, though it isn’t a positive atmosphere, is viewed by Skrzynecki as the first real place that he can consider ‘home’ and can therefore belong to. The Pursuit of Happiness deals with the issue of the need to belong to a place through the unfolding story of Chris Gardner and his son as they face barriers such as homelessness.
Firstly, Peter Skrzynecki’s poem ’10 Mary Street’ explores the way belonging is linked to environment and the personal imprints one puts on that environment. The family have fashioned their own sense of belonging in a poor, rundown neighbourhood. They establish routines and rituals that they are never departed from. One such example of this routine is seen in the line ‘For nineteen years we departed…like a well-oiled lock’. The use of simile in the phrase ‘like a well-oiled lock’ indicates the positive imagery of the

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