Belonging is a sense of enlightenment felt when an individual gains an understanding of themselves in relation to others and the wider world. Everyone strives to belong and form connections to people, groups, communities, places and the world. The benefits of belonging include inclusion, feelings of acceptance, security and a positive sense of identity and understanding.People attempt to establish a place of belonging to gain a sense of security and refuge. People yearn to develop close relationships with family in order to gain cultural identity, acceptance and understanding and one’s desire to achieve a sense of belonging can change through maturation. Peter Skrzynecki’s “Feliks Skrzynecki” and “Ancestors” in his “Immigrant Chronicle” as well as “Grandma’s Tattoos” by Suzanne Khardalian all portray ideas about how people strive to belong.
In “Feliks Skrzynecki” he is depicted as a strong, determined and reliable man. Felik’s Skrzynecki was Peter Skrzynecki’s father and although he was born into a family, this poem from Immigrant Chronicle shows that Peter was neglected. His father, Felik’s would have rather spent time with his beloved garden rather than inside the family home. “From sunrise to sleep” alliteration of the “S” is repeated to create a soothing sound to illustrate routine and how much effort Feliks has put in belonging to the garden. “My father sits out the evening, with his dog, smoking” Imagery is used to illustrate the peace and tranquillity of Feliks sitting down as that is where he believes as if he belongs.
Feliks Skrzynecki feels a close connection to places. “Ten times around the world”. By using a hyperbole Peter exaggerates the amount of time that Feliks spent caring and loving the garden implying that Feliks could walk around the world ten times when being in the garden. The hyperbole evokes a sense of his dedication to his garden and his paternal feelings towards it; connection to this place like a father connects to his child. Feliks sense of belonging also came from his close connection to his Polish friends. “Reminisced...about farms where paddocks flowered”. The culmination of positive verbs conveys a sense of their nostalgia and shared pride in their cultural heritage; a heritage that connects them together and fosters a sense to strive to belong. “Loved his garden like an only child” A simile is used to portray that Feliks had a strong relationship and connection with his garden. He looks after it every day and he has given it a sense of belonging.
Skrzynecki explores the concept of belonging and alienation through a number of ways in “Ancestors”. In the heading “Ancestors” it immediately provides a sense of belonging through family, history and ancestors themselves. It is a poem about the cultural heritage of Skrzynecki which he is naive about. The first way is through a generic representation of ancestors, which is depersonalized but he is connected to, this shows how he feels a sense of belonging. The use of persona of the poem considers Skrzynecki’s ancestors and cultural past with anxiety as he is unable to make connections with them, therefore he does not belong. The use of second person invites the responder into his feelings of fear and alienation. The poem is ultimately saying we are complete when we go back to our ancestors; we belong regardless of our choices in life. Skrzynecki reflects on human identity and the choices in life that links us all to our ancestors, these factors support this as Skrzynecki is faced with feelings of striving to belong. “Your tongue, dry as caked mud”. A simile is used to give comparison between the tongue saying that it is as dry as caked mud. This simile represents the connection Skrzynecki had with the land his family has come from. Throughout the poem of Ancestors, Skrzynecki strives to belong to place as well as family.
“Grandma’s Tattoos” by Suzanne Khardalian is about a daughter seeking to find out about her family’s past, she