In Feliks Skrzynecki it has been demonstrated that belonging can be found through a connection to people and place. Peter Skrzynecki uses the simile ‘loved his garden like an only child’ and the hyperbole he would ‘sweep its paths ten times around the world’ in order to demonstrate that Feliks’ sense of belonging relies on his environmental connection to his house and garden. Feliks finds a sense of belonging with his Polish friends that share a common pride in heritage with him, which gives Feliks a sense of familiarity and belonging based on past experiences. This is shown through the accretion of positive language “they reminisced about farms where paddocks flowered.” The imagery created by ‘my father sits out in the evening with his dog, smoking’ demonstrates companionship and a feeling of satisfaction. Feliks Skrzynecki however, remains segregated from the rest of society, as shown by the cliché ‘keeping pace with the Jonses’, which suggests that Feliks has created his own realm within society where he can find his place in his home and his Polish friends.
Similarly in Clueless, Cher doesn’t find a sense of belonging outside of her parochial world of
Beverly Hills. This is due to her sheltered and shallow view of the ambient world around her.
This is exhibited in the text when Josh asks if Cher “has maybe watched the real world.”
This demonstrates Cher’s lack of knowledge about the world and therefor her inability to belong and alienation. She compensates for this by creating her own rules and her own materialistic realm based on social status and consumerism. She goes to the mall to “gather her thoughts and regain control” when life gets “impotent and out of control.” Like
Feliks, Cher creates her own world “to find sanctuary in a place” which can belong to in order to compensate for her dislocation. Both characters create their own sense of belonging for themselves however, unlike Feliks Skrzynecki Cher takes a dominant position in her world and other characters perceive her as ‘popular.’
In the poem, Feliks Skrzynecki, his world collides with the outside world. This is demonstrated in the poem through the racism of the department clerk belittling Feliks ‘in dancing bear grunts’ “Did your father ever attempt to learn English?” This shows a racial prejudice and highlights that Feliks doesn’t belong in society. Similarly, in clueless Cher’s world collides with the real world when she is held at gunpoint and is more concerned about her designer dress than her own life, stating “but this is an aaliyah!” Feliks’ and Cher both experience barriers to belonging. Feliks exhibits a cultural and racial barrier to belonging and Cher shows a social barrier to belonging. Another barrier to belong explored in Clueless is image and sexuality. When Tai is introduced to the audience she contrasts to the other students in the school and her image immediately conveys she doesn’t belong. By Cher giving her a makeover, it immediately assimilates her and aids to her superficial sense of inclusion. A person’s sexuality can also be a barrier to belonging, Tai claiming Cher is “a virgin who can’t drive.”
Tai is similar to the character of the son in Feliks Skrzynecki as they both experience barriers to belonging. ‘That formal address’ of Feliks Skrzynecki suggests a difference in age and context between him and his son and therefore an alienation from his father’s adult world.
This is similar to the character of Tai as she has a barrier that prevents her from belonging with Cher and society but different as her barrier is image and not age or race.