Peter Skrzynecki’s poems “Feliks Skrzynecki” and “Postcard” both explore complex idea about belonging. Both poems suggest that belonging comes from a connection to place and people, people can choose to belong and that belonging can be modified over time. Feliks in Peter Skzynecki’s poem “Feliks Skzynecki” feels a close connection to places and people. He is described at the beginning of the poem as loving “his garden like an only child”, sweeping “its paths/ Ten times around the world.
” The simile and hyperbole evoke a sense of his dedication to his garden and his paternal feelings towards it, connecting to this place like a father connects to an only child. His sense of belonging also comes from his close connection to his Polish friends who “reminisced/ About farms where paddocks flowered/ […] Horses they bred […].” The cumulation of positive verbs conveys a sense of their nostalgia and shared pride in their cultural heritage; a heritage that connects them together and fosters a sense of belonging.
PERCEPTIONS of belonging/ not belonging vary.Feliks Skrzynecki – Feliks and Peter have different perceptions of their belonging in Australia and the necessity of belonging in Australia.
St Patrick’s College – Peter and his mother have different perceptions of the impact of his belonging at St Patrick’s College.
Postcard – Peter initially has a different response to the postcard to the response that he imagines his parents will have. His perception of his belonging to Poland is different to his parents’ perceptions. Perceptions of belonging are shaped within personal, cultural, historical and social CONTEXTS .Feliks Skrzynecki – His father’s sense of belonging with his friends and his garden come from his cultural (Polish), personal and historical context (forced labour). Peter’s contrasting sense of alienation comes from his cultural context (son of migrants who has never been to Poland at this stage), personal context (experience of education).
In the folk museum – Peter’s sense of alienation in the folk museum comes from his completely different cultural, historical and social context. He struggles to relate to the rural, colonial Australian experience. A sense of belonging can come from the CONNECTIONS made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger world.Feliks Skrzynecki – Peter’s father’s strong sense of belonging comes from his connections with his friends (people), garden (place) and his cultural heritage.
10 Mary St – This poem explores Peter’s strong connection to place and the discomfort that comes when the place is threatened (“gazetted for industry”)
Postcard – Peter initially feels a lack of connection to the postcard, distancing himself from it. However, it is ambiguous at the end of the poem whether he will strive to form a connection with this place by visiting Warsaw. Belonging is related to RELATIONSHIPS,Feliks Skrzynecki – Peter’s father’s relationships with his friends and garden give him a sense of belonging. Peter explores his relationship with his father in this poem.
10 Mary St – The family’s sense of belonging in this home comes from the strong relationships forged within it (family relationships and friendships).
Ancestors – Peter grapples in this poem with his relationship to his “bearded, faceless” ancestors. By the end, he sees the significance of these people: “The wind tastes of blood.” ACCEPTANCE,10 Mary St – Peter has a strong sense of acceptance in this home, but this is threatened.
St Patrick’s College – Peter does not feel completely comfortable in this setting – does not feel that he can “let [his] light shine.” IDENTITY,Feliks Skrzynecki -Peter feels the disparity between his father’s strong sense of cultural identity and his confusion about his own identity.
St Patrick’s College -In this setting, Peter was not able to express his identity: “let my light shine.”
Postcard – In this poem, Peter grapples with his identity in relation to the postcard from Warsaw: “What’s my choice to be?” AND UNDERSTANDING.Feliks Skrzynecki -This poem is an attempt to come to an understanding of his father and to come to terms with his own shifting identity.
Postcard -Peter struggles to understand Warsaw and its place in his life in this poem.
Ancestors -Peter tries to understand the significance of his ancestors for his life. The INDIVIDUAL has the potential (ability) to ENRICH or CHALLENGE a group.Feliks Skrzynecki – Feliks both enriches and challenges Peter’s notions of his own identity and stability.
In the folk museum -Peter seems to neither enrich nor challenge the elderly “caretaker” at the museum. ATTITUDES to belonging are modified (change) over time.Feliks Skrzynecki – Feliks does not change his fixed sense of belonging, while Peter’s attitude modifies over time, pitching his tents “further and further south of Hadrian’s wall.”
Postcard -Initially, Peter is stubborn, not wanting to change his dismissive attitude towards the Warsaw. Yet, by the end of the poem, there is some evidence of a shift in attitude (“‘We will meet/ Before you die.'”). There may be CHOICES NOT to belong.St Patrick’s College – There is some evidence of Peter distancing himself from his school through distraction: “fervently counted/ the seventy-eight pages”.
Postcard -Peter chooses not to belong to the postcard at first (“I never knew you”) but this choice is challenged at the end of the poem (“‘We will meet before you die'”). There may be BARRIERS preventing belonging.Immigrants at Central Station, 1951 – The immigrants sense the barriers of the negative perceptions of others (“Watching pigeons/ That watched them”).
In the folk museum – Peter’s distance from the cultural heritage and rural experiences of the artefacts displayed in the folk museum is a barrier preventing him from authentically engaging with it (“To remind me of a past/ Which isn’t mine”). The RESPONDER can feel a sense of belonging to, or exclusion from, the TEXT and the world it represents.Feliks Skrzynecki – Responders with parents can feel a sense of belonging to this text in its celebration of the hard work of a parent.
Immigrants at Central Station, 1951 – Responders who have moved to a foreign country can feel a sense of belonging to the experiences of the migrants in this text.
In the folk museum – Students from a language background other than English can relate to Peter’s sense of cultural alienation in this text. Studying belonging can BROADEN/ DEEPEN the RESPONDER’S understanding of themselves/ the world.Immigrants at Central Station, 1951 – This poem broadens the responder’s understanding of the experiences of migrants, leading to empathy.
Feliks Skrzynecki – This poem may lead to a broadening of responders’ reflections on their own personal relationships with their parents in the shaping of their identity. PERSPECTIVES can be given voice in texts or absent from texts.In the folk museum – This poem voices the experiences of the alienated second-generation migrant in a colonial Australia.
Immigrants at Central Station, 1951 -This poem voices the experiences of migrants in Australia rather than focusing on the way they were perceived by established ‘Australians.’ The concept of belonging is conveyed through the REPRESENTATIONS of people, relationships, ideas, places, events and societies. There are ASSUMPTIONS that shape those representations.Feliks Skrzynecki -Feliks is represented in a favourable light. The assumption is that his experiences have shaped him to be a stoic, honorable man.
In the folk museum -The assumption in this representation of the second-generation migrant is that he desires to assimilate but feels uncertain about his place: “‘Would you please sign the Visitors’ Book?'”
Cite this Belonging: Perception and Peter
Belonging: Perception and Peter. (2016, Nov 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/belonging-perception-and-peter/