Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Texts by Peter Skrzynecki

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People's perceptions of belonging vary according to the way they see themselves and their world. Individuals feelings of alienation and belonging is perceived by the way they see themselves and their world. As individuals become accepted within their new world, their surrounding forge acceptance, thus alienation becomes less apparent. Individuals foundation of belonging from alienation through the way they see themselves within their world is conveyed within “The Blind Side”, and “Felicks Skrzynecki” by Peter Skrzynecki.

Within these two texts individuals similarly generate a sense of belonging in despite of cultural differences thus overcoming their struggles to gain a perception of acceptance within their world. Whereas “10 Mary Street” by Peter Skrzynecki portrays his perception of himself as belonging to his world and within his home. Individuals perceptions of one's self worth within their world effects their sense of belonging. The Blind Side” is a powerful projection of cultural injustice and the misperceptions of cultural identity that shape an individuals sense of belonging, Michael does not belong within his community. The long shot of Michael sitting in the stands alone projects Michaels isolation from the remainder of his population. This broad shot generates an image which makes Michael seem miniscule within his world and thus his perception of his self worth is conveyed with negative impressions, Michael has no sense of belonging as he sits abounded, alone in a shot which over shadows him. I look and I see white everywhere. White walls, white floors and a lot of white people. ” As Michael is being brought into Leanne's family through this dialogue it is conveyed that it is a difficult transition, Michael see's his race as a barrier between the acceptance of his new world, which highlights the void between the rich white population and the less fortunate culture which Michael was born into- Michael doesn't perceive himself to belong.

Through plot development alienation becomes less apparent and Michael is adopted within new culture that he becomes apart of, Michael belongs to his new world. Leigh Anne asked Michael “You're gonna take care of me right? ”, and Michael responds “I got your back” this conversation highlights the strong bond that has formed between these two individuals, and thus in juxtaposition to the first shot Michael is no longer alone. Leigh Anne is reliant on Michael who has changed her life in a positive way thus Michael's self worth has increased.

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As Michael is accepted within Leigh Annes family a strong bond is formed within his world. Through his increased self worth Michael feels a sense of belonging brought in spite of his alienation. Through the alienation of cultural barriers individuals sought for other means of belonging. “Feliks Skrzynecki” explores the hardships of cultural barriers and how these can create alienation in the failure to belong within his world, similar to Michaels alienation within his world. “Did your father ever attempt to learn English? , this cruel accusation depicts Australia's unforgiving nature for foreigners failure to adapt to a certain culture. The incapability of Peter's “gentle father” to change himself to belong to his new world leads to a sense of alienation and an exploration for other means of belonging. Peter writes his father “Loved his garden like an only child”, and “He swept its path ten times around the world”, projecting a strong connection that his father has a place that he belongs and is accepted.

The symbol that the garden is his child conveys the strong connection that the man and garden have with each other; a child is dependent on its parent to survive and thus this becomes a metaphor for Feliks and the garden- the garden needs Feliks to stay healthy and thus a strong sense of belonging to each other. Feliks continuous sweeping of the path creates a sense of routine which demonstrates a sense of belonging as well as routine the use of a hyperbole emphasizes the amount of time spent in his garden reinforcing the strong sense of belonging experienced by his father.

From alienation further means of belonging are sought for as seen through the importance placed on his fathers cultural connective friends to reminisce upon the past, Felicks belongs to the past and places significant importance upon his homeland; where they all feel a greater sense of belonging, “Talking, they reminisced about farms where paddocks flowered with corn and wheat, horses they bred”. Another connection which generates his fathers sense of belonging is the changing from a farm to a garden where he has always tended to nature and thus this is a place familiarity; a place he feels he belongs.

Thus Peter's “gentle father” is alienated within the Australian culture but has sought for other means of belonging within himself and his cultural identity, forging happiness and acceptance. Therefore Felicks perception of his own happiness and surrounding have generated a sense of belonging for himself within his garden. Belonging is achieved through an individuals security and belonging to a place as seen within Peter Skryznecki, “10 Mary Street”. The employment of a personal voice emphasises a sense of authenticity which allows for the theme of belonging to magnified.

Skrzynecki's use of first person allows the reader to forge a relationship with the persona thus the composers themes are conveyed with an extension of a sentimental bond. Peter's individual perception that he belongs to his home as well as his parents despite being a migrant disallows for alienation and displays a perception of personal security within his home. “For nineteen years we departed each morning” like in “Feliks Skryznecki” a sense of routine provides an impression of a sense of belonging thus bonding the migrants to their new world.

Peter presents himself to belong within his world through the perception that he is apart of his home and has been for nineteen years. “We lived together... With photographs and letters”, “We became citizens of the soil that was feeding us” Peter uses this metaphor and evaluative comment to acknowledged his heritage but also the link to his new home both providing him with a sense of belonging. Through the individuals perception of security to his home for years a sense of belonging is achieved within his world through his family and home.

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