Belonging: the Simpsons and Poem Migrant Hostel
Belonging essay –
(Paraphrase of the question asked). Sometimes a sense of not belonging can be based on issues outside our control. The texts, Peter Skrzynecki immigrant chronicles (Migrant hostel/ Feliks Skrzynecki/ Saint Patricks) express the issues of belonging, alienation and segregation. The related texts, “Bend it like Beckham” directed by Gurinder Chada and “the Simpsons episode summer of 4’2’” directed by Matt Groening, explore the concepts of racism and discrimination and their feeling of not belonging. Through a variety of poetic, visual and film techniques used in the texts stated help the viewer visualise and witness the concept of belonging or not belonging.
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One of the poems written by Peter Skrzynecki “Feliks Skrzynecki” effectively highlights how the concept of acceptance can vary from person to person. In the Feliks Skrzynecki poem we learn that Feliks feels he belongs and whereas Peter does not. The simile “loved his garden like an only child” and the hyperbole “Spent years walking its perimeter” conveys Feliks strong connection and sense of belonging with his environment as opposed to the external environment (society). The techniques this highlights that although he is unable to belong with the outside world (due to his past and background) he is able to block out the majority of his surrounding environment and feel as though he belongs.
This is juxtaposed to his son Peter Skrzynecki who feels he does not belong in his father’s environment. The techniques i.e. symbolism “I had forgotten my first polish word” emphasises how segregated and different Peter is as opposed to his father. The technique illustrates that Peter is choosing to be with his own environment rather than his fathers. The metaphor “Further south of Hadrian’s Wall” also re –illustrates his sense of alienation and separation from his background/culture and family. Thus relating to acceptance and how it varies from person to person, Feliks feels as though he belongs with his garden, family and culture where as Peter does not.
One may feel they do or don’t belong due to past events or things outside
their control. In the poem “Migrant Hostel “the concept of acceptance is evident through the use of a variety of poetic techniques, a simile “Like a homing pigeon circling to get its bearings” is used to highlight the Skrzynecki urgency and desire to gain a sense of belonging with their current environment as well as their sense of belonging with people of the same the background and past. Another technique used, alliteration “Memories of hunger and hate” is used as a catalyst of the bonds between the migrants. This technique informs the viewer how some migrants feel as though they belong with each other due to events in their past. Thus re-instating how the migrant hostel is the only place where the Skrzynecki’s and the rest of the migrants can feel as though they belong due to a common experience. The poem “Migrant hostel” is also used to highlight the Skrzynecki’s disconnection and separation from the Australian society. The metaphor ”Like a finger pointed in reprimand or sham” and metaphoric language “Partitioned of at night” portray to the audience the Australians selfishness nature and innate desire to belong with the people from the migrant hostel. In conclusion, through the use of a variety of poetic techniques used throughout the poem “Migrant hostel” the concepts of racism, discrimination and acceptance are all effectively portrayed.
The poem from the immigrant chronicles “Saint Patricks college” illustrates how being yourself can often separate you from others and vary your sense of belonging from place to place. The use of sarcasm (tone) “What was best” informs the audience about the different forms of opinion felt by Peter and Mr and Mrs Skrzynecki. The uses of a simile “like a foreign tourist” and language “Could say the Lord’s Prayer/ in Latin, all in one breath” exemplify Peter’s disconnection from his education and his sense of seclusion and disjointment from his current school environment. The techniques highlight that Peter is against what his parents believe is right and thinks that the school is a waste of money and time. The techniques distinctively allow the audience to witness the day to day struggles felt by Peter as well as the bitterness and anxiety felt in the relationship between Peter and his parents. Peter’s opinions in the poem are juxtaposed to his parent’s opinions and thoughts who believe that giving Peter a good education will set him up for life so that he does not need to experience
everything that they did. Thus re-illustrating how being your self can separate you from others and jeopardise relationships that you may have which consequently also creates a sense of not belonging.
The Film “Bend it like Beckham” is a perfect example of how sometimes the only way to belong is to rebel against what is thought to be morally correct by others. Jessminda (the protagonist) has an Indian culture, background and is restricted in being able to belong with the majority of society. The use of film techniques such as sound effects (Indian music in contrast to the modern day British pop culture music) which are used as a contrast between her Indian background/culture and choice of belonging with society. An example of this technique is where the protagonist is seen shopping in a modern day mall with her best friend then through the use of a reverse shot is seen making dinner with her mum for her family which is essentially a attempt to convey that one can belong in more than one environment .Another film technique used is the close up camera shot/ angle (when she is playing soccer as opposed to when she is cooking food from her origin). The technique is used to reflect her cultural barriers as well as her feelings and thoughts on her current situation as an alienated individual. Both techniques convey her sense of not belonging with her Indian heritage and willingness to rebel and belong with people outside her background/culture. (Link to the question)
As opposed to the previous text where the protagonist felt as though they did not belong due to their skin colour or race, Lisa (the protagonist) in the Simpsons episode “The summer of 4’2’” feels as though she does not belong due to her personality and self image. In this particular Simpsons episode the director explores the concepts of alienation and isolation felt by Lisa Simpson. Several film techniques are used to show this concept; some include camera angles/shots (low, mid and high) to contrast Lisa’s authority / superiority when she is with her family (mid camera angle is used) as opposed to when Lisa is meeting her new friends (high camera angle is used) to convey her inferiority. Another technique that is effectively used in portraying Lisa’s sense of not belonging is the use of body language and facial expressions. When Lisa is seen at school her body language and facial
expressions (old clothes, distraught facial expressions) continually emphasise her separation from her peers, her anger and Lisa’s desperate desire to belong. This technique is contrasted to when Lisa enters a new environment whereby she changes her self image and personality so she can feel a sense of belonging. When Lisa is with her new friends her facial expressions portray a sense of optimism, happiness and a strong sense of belonging.
Relate back to question, and talk about the experiences I have learnt through learning this topic