In what ways is this view of belonging represented in your prescribed text and at least ONE other related text of your own choosing?
A person’s understanding of how they belong or how they don’t is nurtured by their experiences and indeed by the length of time spent growing to understand the nature of belonging. In the poem ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ by Peter Skrzynecki, the protagonist through connections with his father and the Australian people informs his perceptions of belonging, Skrzynecki sees that he must leave his old life behind him if he wants to belong to the Australian culture. In the Movie ‘Perfume’ based off a book by Patrick Suskind, the idea that time strengthens the perceptions of belonging is evident in the text. The main character Grenouille after a period of time discovers how he will make himself belong with the rest of humanity.
In the poem ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ Peter Skrzynecki’s perceptions of belonging evolve because of his connection with his father. He understands that if he wants to belong to his new country he must forget his past unlike his father. Feliks does not belong in his new country because his memories bind him to his past in Europe. Feliks sense of not belonging is emphasised in the first stanza of the poem by the image of his restless walking the perimeter of the garden. He is unsettled by how much he loves his garden, the garden being a symbol for his home in Poland. ‘Like an only child’ the use of a simile emphasises the great care he has for his garden.
The poem is narrated from a double perspective, one from when Peter Skrzynecki was young and also when he is older. It indicates to us by literally showing how his viewpoints have changed throughout time. The adult perspective shows the sophisticated understanding of Australian bureaucracy; he highlights the minimal tolerance that the Australian people had for migrants. ‘Did your father even attempt to learn English’? The use of dialogue in the poem highlights the offensiveness of the shopping clerk. It illustrates how a connection or interaction between the Australian community and the migrants denies Feliks experience of belonging. Feliks belongs to his past with his father. Through age and connections with the world he can understand this. Thus if he is to belong in his new home he must let go of his past.
The last stanza is most memorable because of its detailed imagery. The son feels like a traitor towards his father. ‘I forgot my first polish word’. The fact that he forgot his first words indicates that he is ready to move on. It has taken time for his perceptions of belonging to evolve in a way that he now understands what he needs to do to belong. ‘Watched me pegging my tent further and further south of Hadrian’s wall’ He abandons his father in the same way a soldier might abandon his post on Hadrian’s wall. It is interesting the metaphor used, as tents are mobile whilst walls cannot move. He describes himself as moveable from his past but his father is too strongly connected to move. It is a mark of Peter Skrzynecki choosing to leave behind his origins and choosing to belong to a new place. His father is attached to what he knows that being his past, his old home. Therefore he cannot create the connection with his new home or create any relationships to allow him to belong.
In the movie ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind the main character Grenouille’s ideas and perceptions of how to belong are developed significantly over time and through the relationships he makes with other people. Grenouille is a clear outsider in the story, this is because he is autistic and therefore has poor people skills. He is unable to see the way that they majority see things. When the perfumer says to Grenouille ‘What kind of human being are you?’ it is evident that Grenouille lacks human decency and morality. He cannot connect…