Peter Skyernicki Essay

Submitted By ceeceellanza1910
Words: 597
Pages: 3

Skrzynecki’s poem ‘St. Patricks College’ displays how a sense of belonging is influenced by external forces. For someone to belong to something they must make their own decisions in life, understand their surroundings and build relationships with those around them. These qualities are lacked by Skrzynecki in ‘St. Patrick’s College’ which resulted in him not belonging. Skrzynecki was sent to this school because his mother was ‘only wanting, “what was best”’. The direct speech is a cliche as every parent wants what is best for their child. The irony of the situation was that ‘for eight years’ sending Skrzynecki to St. Patrick’s College ‘Wasn’t “for the best”. He did not understand the ways of the school which led to his lack of belonging. The repetition of the phrase ‘for eight years’ reinforces how long the alienation and detachment lasted for, the feeling of not belonging did not change for eight years. The use of the personal pronoun ‘I’ throughout the poem gives a dreary, detached tone which emphasises his loneliness. No relationships with students, teachers or anyone else at the school were formed over his time there. The time at the school was useless as highlighted by ‘I could say the lord’s prayer in Latin, all in one breath.’ He claims that as what he received from eight years at the school, a useless skill. Skrzynecki found it so hard to belong to St. Patrick’s College because the decision to go to the school was not his own, he did not understand his surroundings and he did not build any relationships with those around him.

Uniforms are designed to make students fit in and identify proudly with the ethos of a school yet there is no indication that Skrzynecki feels he belongs to the school. The tone of the poem is unenthusiastic - rather lack lustre, with a chilling atmosphere reinforced by the repetition (3 times) of “For eight years” as if it were a trial of endurance, as well as the anonymity of the people even though the streets and buses are named.
The ironic imagery in “Our Lady watched/ With outstretched arms,/Her face covered by clouds” and later “Our Lady still watching/Above, unchanged by eight years’ weather.” questions the ability of concrete statues to provide