The Theme of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki's St. Patrics College and Jared Mcmillan's Fitting In: What not to Do

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About this sample


Words: 805 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jun 5, 2019

Words: 805|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jun 5, 2019

Texts explore ideas on belonging, whether it is about choosing to belong or choosing not to belong. To feel a sense of belonging is a major part that satisfies the emotional needs of a human. Not everyone belongs to the same things, places or people as not everyone has the same experiences, cultural background, understanding, relationships and lifestyle. These factors attribute, deliberately or not, when a person has to choose whether to belong or not to belong. In Peter Skrzynecki’s ‘St. Patricks College’, and Jared McMillan’s ‘Fitting In: What no to do’, both the poet and the author have represented choices not to belong to a certain place and a certain group of people in their texts.

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Skrzynecki’s poem ‘St. Patricks College’ portrays ideas about the choice that the persona makes to not belong to the school that the persona’s mother had enrolled him in. The persona’s disrespectful behaviour of sticking ‘pine needles’ on the school motto indicates the lack of interest and pre-existing attitude towards the school.

The behaviour of the persona proves that the persona is choosing to separate himself from the school. Skrzynecki repeats the phrase ‘for eight years’ to emphasise the great deal of time in a young person’s life and also the sense that it felt endless. The repetition reveals that the persona has chosen not to belong to the school as it implies that the persona did not enjoy being in the school and did not want any sort of connection with the school.

The persona’s choice not to belong is again highlighted in the juxtaposition ‘walked… played… caught’ and ‘like a foreign tourist/ Uncertain of my destination / Every time I got off’. The verbs create a feeling of action and interaction but the discomfort and disconnection that the persona feels is bluntly described as the word ‘tourist’ implies that the persona is out of place.

The dis-attachment is again reinforced by the irony in ‘I’ve been privileged to wear’. The phrase before says that the persona ‘carried’ the ‘blue, black and gold’ uniform. The word ‘carried’ suggests a chore not a privilege, as the word has negative connotations in this context which portray a sense of burden. The word ‘carried’ also reveals that the persona deliberately chooses not to belong to the school, as he chose to describe himself wearing the uniform as to carrying the uniform, dis-attaching himself from the school.

The text ‘Fitting In: What not to do’ also has evidences of choosing not to belong to a certain group of people. The main character Jared is thrilled at first at the fact that he could be friends with the ‘cool people’ of the school but later he realises that he didn’t want to hang out with ‘these type of people’. Jared’s behaviour of refusing to drink is emphasised with the ellipses in the line “Oh no, I don’t drink…” which reveals the fact that he feels uncomfortable in this place. The following line “if you want to hang out with these type of people you have to do what they do” Proves that he does not included to this group of people and “it was all just an act” that he was putting on “trying to live out a fantasy” of his.

Later on in the text, Jarred is determined to leave the ‘cool group’ and this is shown by the regretful tone of the rhetorical questions “…what had I been doing? Where had I gone so wrong?” These rhetoric questions imply that he does not want to conform to the way that the group behaves also dis-attaching himself from the group. This embodies that Jarred does not want to associate with the cool group anymore, abandoning and disconnecting himself from the group.

The writer has used another rhetoric question in the next paragraph, followed by a line showing Jared’s inner thoughts. A guy from the ‘cool group’ yelled at him “where do you think you’re going? If you leave now you’re never getting back to where you are!” and Jared replies to this by thinking to himself, “Good, I thought, I don’t want to be here anyways”. The rhetoric question unveils the fact that the ‘cool group’ never really accepted Jared as a real member of the group whilst the line following shows that not being accepted by them is what Jared wanted. This affirms that the character Jared has chosen not to be a part of the group that he has no connections to.

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To conclude, Skrzynecki’s “St. Patricks College” and Jared McMillan’s “Fitting in: What not to do”, both represent choices not to belong to a certain group or place. These two texts have contrasting settings and different characters but they are brought together by the choice of not belonging. This proves that texts represent choices not to belong and that belonging is a time transcending issue.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Theme of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki’s St. Patrics College and Jared McMillan’s Fitting In: What Not to Do. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“The Theme of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki’s St. Patrics College and Jared McMillan’s Fitting In: What Not to Do.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2019,
The Theme of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki’s St. Patrics College and Jared McMillan’s Fitting In: What Not to Do. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
The Theme of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki’s St. Patrics College and Jared McMillan’s Fitting In: What Not to Do [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 May 14 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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