Belonging - Peter Skyznecki

Topics: Culture, Poland, Tracy Chapman Pages: 2 (789 words) Published: August 4, 2013
Belonging is a personal struggle for some people, easy for others The quest to belong often depends on how well an individual can conform to their society, making it therefore difficult for those unable or unwilling to change their identity. This problematic aspect of belonging features significantly in the poems Feliks Skrzynecki and post card, and the song Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. The protagonists of all texts are beset with cultural and familial limitations, acting as negative forces that hinder their ability to belong. As seen in Feliks Skrzynecki, the generational gap is the ultimate reason Peter Skrzynecki’s cultural belonging is not established to the same extent as his father’s. The poem communicates the idea that experience and memory are two fundamental aspects that allows one to connect to place, a quality embodied by Feliks who served “five years of forced labour in Germany.” The historical allusion gives insight into the devoted nature of Feliks, in which his military commitment to Poland has instilled a timeless attachment to his country. This cultural connection echoes into his present life in Australia, manifested physically through the garden, of which he loved “like an only child.” The simile humanises the garden to highlight the emotional bond that links Feliks to his home, perceived as a sanctuary that preserves his memory of Poland. The persona on the other hand does not inherit his father’s nationalistic attitude towards Poland. His fragmented cultural belonging is illustrated immediately by the “remnants of a language.” The “remnants” contain connotations of a broken national identity, becoming an impediment for the persona to truly embrace his Polish Culture. This is further exacerbated by different social forces impairing the person’s ability to revive their Polish culture, in which Caesar’s Gallic war causes him to forget his “first polish word.” This eventually results in him moving “further south of Hadrian’s Wall” another...
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