St Patrick's College - Peter Skrzynecki

580 Words3 Pages
Belonging is an ambiguous concept which can offer individuals a sense of identity, security and connectedness. Experiences of belonging are closely related to a person’s interaction with others, as positive experiences can enrich their sense of belonging, and negative experiences can limit their sense of belonging. An individual’s limited experience of belonging through their inability to positively interact with others can often incite them to reject the majority through acts of defiance, self-alienation and rebellion. This notion of belonging/not belonging, acceptance/identity and choosing not to belong, is extensively explored within Peter Skrzynecki’s poem, St. Patrick’s College, from the anthology Immigrant Chronicle. The poem begins with Peter’s mother longing for him to belong and be accepted into society. Motivated by false social climbing (status conscious) values, his mother has made sacrifices in order for him to get ahead. Double use of the possessive in the first line: “impressed by the uniforms / of her employer’s son” indicates his mother’s hopes and ambitions. Use of alliteration represents conformity, whilst creating an initial impression of superficiality. This idea is continued in his mother “wanting only what was best,” an anecdote symbolising ignorance and sacrifice. Peter Skrzynecki explores the idea of choosing not to belong. The persona is distancing himself from his school through distraction: "fervently counted/ the seventy-eight pages". He violently “stuck pine needles” into the motto. This use of pine needles in attacking the motto highlights violence and aggression the persona feels towards the school, which is a direct reflection of his lack of interaction with others, resulting in his feelings of insecurity and actions of defiance which in turn builds a greater barrier to belonging. This is further emphasised in “could say the
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