To belong is to feel connected as a member, and to gain personal, social and cultural identity. The concept of belonging is thoroughly explored in the poem “Feliks Skrzynecki’ from the immigrant chronical series written by Peter Skrzynecki. Through the use of various poetic techniques, the readers are able to grasp a clear understanding on the places, characters and events that are viewed in the poem.
In the poem ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’, belonging is illustrated through the relationship between Feliks and his garden. He is able to feel a sense of belonging as his garden is his creation and it also puts him in an area of comfort. Through the repetition of hard work and labour, it provides him with a sense of security and purpose. ‘He swept its paths, Ten times around the word’ demonstrates through hyperbole how much pride he takes in his garden through the constant hard work that is put in. When Peter refers to his father ‘sits out the evening, with his dog, smoking’ illustrates his sense of contentment with the garden and demonstrates a routine in order for him to belong. It also shows the disconnection between Feliks and Peter, as Peter struggles to belong. Feliks also finds a sense of belonging though constant hard work. Feliks is portrayed as a hardworking figure throughout the poem, due to his persistent attitude and loud actions. He is clearly a powerful being and creates purposeful energy. “Hands darkened/from cement, finger with cracks” illustrates through visual imagery and a sharp change in tone the powerful manual worker that Feliks is. As a result of not belonging into the Australian society he is able to create his own sense of belonging in the safety and beauty of his garden created through hard work.
‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ illustrates a disconnected sense of belonging due to the constant hardships that are experienced by Feliks. Daily, Feliks is faced with the harsh reality of his past war experiences, which makes it difficult for him to belong comfortably. Although it is difficult, Feliks’ key qualities of courage and endurance allow him to attempt to belong. ‘Twice/ they dug cancer out of his foot/ his comment was: but I’m live’ demonstrates the consequences of the war and through dialogue his optimistic attitude. Feliks also had to continuously deal with the bureaucracy of society which hindered his ability to belong. ‘Dancing-bear grunts’ exemplifies through metaphorical language the way that some Australians responded to migrants, showing a disconnection between Feliks and the country. In some areas of the poem, sympathy is evoked for the Skrzyneckis, however when Peter is asked ‘Did your father ever attempt to learn English’ it illustrates how Feliks is discriminated against due to his inability to speak English. Even though it seems as if Feliks doesn’t belong, through his perseverance and determination he creates his own