Experiences Enriching Belonging

Topics: Experience, Holger Ernst Pages: 3 (877 words) Published: August 29, 2011
An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging

In most examples of life, positive experiences will enrich a person’s happiness and joy; creating a positive state of mind and enhancing their sense of belonging, while negative experiences will develop an un-healthy state of mind and limit their sense of belonging. The nature of these progressions is a natural effect of engaging with one’s surroundings, and there are countless examples of this evolution in both the Immigrant Chronicle, written by Peter Skrzynecki, and the poem The Two Depressing Things, written by cartoonist Leunig. Skrzynecki’s poem Feliks Skrzynecki contains one of the primary examples of the barriers to belonging that the Skrzyneckis, and by extension all immigrants, face in the country that they migrated to. Peter’s personal anecdote of a “crew-cut, grey haired department clerk” belittling his father by asking if he “ever attempt[ed] to learn English” shows the prejudice experienced by immigrants. Skrzynecki’s use of evocative language when he says “the curse that damned a (...) department clerk” shows that these types of comments cause to severely limit his sense of belonging. It is to be expected that if one’s experiences are positive, it will have a positive effect on the sense of belonging experienced, and vice versa. However, in the same poem there is an example of the opposite occurring. Skrzynecki’s characterisation of Feliks Skrzynecki includes the idolism of Feliks; how he is stoic and courageous in the face of adversity.

“I never once heard
Him complain of work, the weather
Or pain. When twice
They dug cancer out of his foot,
His comment was: “but I'm alive””

The last line especially shows that even though his interaction with the world around him is so negative, the adverse experiences fail to prevent him from seeing the positive side and engaging with his family and everything that life has to offer....
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