Belonging: Feature Article Essay

Submitted By JN1160
Words: 952
Pages: 4

Belonging to a community or group has a significant impact on and individual’s sense of self
To what extent to you agree with this?

Connection to a community has a significant impact on an individual’s sense of self. The challenge to seek belonging within a community has been proven to be a contributing factor to individual’s beliefs and perceptions, affecting whether they belong or don’t belong. This notion is evident in Peter Skrzyneckis poems; ‘Migrant Hostel’ which outlines the tough experiences which Skrzynecki and his family faced when attempting to form a connection and ‘St. Patrick’s college’ which exemplifies Skrzyneckis disconnection from his school due to his negative perception of place as an adolescent as well as the feature article ‘I just want to Belong’ composed by Mark Barbeliuk outlining the difficulties which a disabled man has in being accepted with society, due to the perceptions of others.

A lack of connection or inability to link to a place can be due to the result of the negative perceptions of others. Migrant Hostel sketches the difficulties in forming a meaningful connection to place due to the perceptions of others. The harsh reality of living in a migrant hostel is documented by Skrzynecki as his family seeks the freedom that lies beyond the gates of the institution. The uncertainty and lack of awareness towards others is accentuated in the first stanza: “No one kept count of all the comings and goings”. This creates a sense of disconnection amongst the migrants within. Furthermore the Skrzynecki family and those within the hostel are unable to obtain an unwavering connection to place which transcends to an unstable sense of belonging. This is highlighted in stanza two through “Like a homing pigeon circling to get its bearings”. With the aid of the simile used, the composer exemplifies the family’s absence of identity and lack of direction. In addition the motif of bird imagery is made prominent in stanza three, as Skrzynecki states “we lived like birds of passage”. Evidently, the lack of stability in their connection to place and people leads to an inhibition of their individuality and cultural expression. This further reinforces the notion that individuals self-identity is impacted by their connections within a community.

Likewise, the feature article “I just want to belong” written by Mark Barbeliuk emphasizes the difficulties which disabled individuals such as Rick face whilst trying to belong to society. There is a harsh reality of living in a society full of people who judge and discriminate against those with disabilities. This is illustrated through the feature article as George Capsis from Community Outreach Ministries states “that just because Rick doesn’t live a conventional life doesn’t mean he is lacking a moral compass or dignity.” This insinuates that external perceptions impact Rick’s ability to belong as the people view him in a negative manner due to his way of life. Furthermore Barbeliuk identifies how “people should not be afraid of Rick” as he has been effected by a tragic accident causing him to be disabled. It is apparent that Barbeliuk’s feature article “I just want to belong” correlates with Skrzyneckis poem “Migrant Hostels” as both texts illustrate how external perceptions within a community effects an individual’s self-identity.

Moreover, in the poem ‘St. Patrick’s College’, Skrzynecki divulges on his personal disconnection from his high school as an adolescent. Strong sentiments of negativity towards the school are prevalent throughout the text, highlighting the poet’s failure to assimilate into the school’s cultural and religious traditions. Such sentiments are clearly portrayed in stanza two, with the descriptive imagery capturing the school grounds: “our lady watched, with outstretched arms”. The matriarchal