Texts explore ideas on belonging, whether it is about choosing to belong or choosing not to belong. To feel a sense of belonging is a major part that satisfies the emotional needs of a human. Not everyone belongs to the same things, places or people as not everyone has the same experiences, cultural background, understanding, relationships and lifestyle. These factors attribute, deliberately or not, when a person has to choose whether to belong or not to belong. In Peter Skrzynecki’s ‘St. Patricks College’, and Jared McMillan’s ‘Fitting In: What no to do’, both the poet and the author have represented choices not to belong to a certain place and a certain group of people in their texts.
Skrzynecki’s poem ‘St. Patricks College’ portrays ideas about the choice that the persona makes to not belong to the school that the persona’s mother had enrolled him in. The persona’s disrespectful behaviour of sticking ‘pine needles’ on the school motto indicates the lack of interest and pre-existing attitude towards the school.
The behaviour of the persona proves that the persona is choosing to separate himself from the school. Skrzynecki repeats the phrase ‘for eight years’ to emphasise the great deal of time in a young person’s life and also the sense that it felt endless. The repetition reveals that the persona has chosen not to belong to the school as it implies that the persona did not enjoy being in the school and did not want any sort of connection with the school.
The persona’s choice not to belong is again highlighted in the juxtaposition ‘walked… played… caught’ and ‘like a foreign tourist/ Uncertain of my destination / Every time I got off’. The verbs create a feeling of action and interaction but the discomfort and disconnection that the persona feels is bluntly described as the word ‘tourist’ implies that the persona is out of place.
The dis-attachment is again reinforced by the irony in ‘I’ve been privileged to wear’. The phrase before says that the persona...