One of Skrzynecki’s main focuses in ‘St Patrick’s College’ is the disconnections from the environment. The imagery of ‘Our Lady watched with outstretched arms’ conveys a sense on welcoming and inclusion. However, the ‘Lady’ image is ‘overshadowed by clouds’ and this is symbolises the persona’s insecurities and doubts for the institution. The persona’s disconnections are further reinforced by the irony of ‘I stuck pine needles into the motto. ’ The motto represents the core values of the school and the persona is desecrating these ideas.
This highlights the persona’s disrespect for the school and his lack of immediate adoption of the school’s ideals. Thus, the persona is alienated and a sense of acceptance is not developed within the institution. Through the simile ‘like a foreign tourist’, Skrzynecki portrays the persona’s disaffection for the school. The diction ‘tourist’ suggests that the persona is an outsider and a connection to place has not yet been developed. This idea is further reinforced by the repetition of ‘8 years’ which emphasises the persona’s lack of acceptance.
It indicates that his school time has appeared long to him, indicating a lack of interest due to his alienation. The personal pronoun of ‘I’ strengthens the idea of the personas alienation, illustrating his sense of loneliness. Consequently, through the stanza’s tone of disaffection it evokes within the responders empathy for the persona’s dislocation and alienation from the physical environment. The irony of ‘privileged to wear’ represents the impediment of the individual’s progress.
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The persona is carrying a burden of responsibilities and expectations set by his mum and the school itself. Although he did not feel accepted in the institution he tried to assimilate with the others around him as shown by ‘Could say The Lord’s Prayer In Latin, all in one breath’. This conveys his insincerity in the prayer and that his religious understanding is only superficial. Hence, the persona has no meaningful connection to the process of learning the values and the whole schooling experience.
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