The Themes of Belonging in The Poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel by Peter Skrzynecki

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About this sample


Words: 1815 |

Pages: 4|

10 min read

Published: Jun 5, 2019

Words: 1815|Pages: 4|10 min read

Published: Jun 5, 2019

Belonging is basically the sense when one feels a connection with their surroundings, and sharing similarities with those around them. When an individual doesn’t belong, they feel a sense of disconnection and isolation from their surroundings. The notion of belonging or not belonging allows individuals to understand their identity with deeper comprehension of who they are. This is due to the fact that if one belongs, they tend to develop a positive attitude of the world, and they discover their true identity based on social circumstances, and how their own characteristics have allowed them to fit in, whereas if they don’t have that sense of belonging, they are left alone to reflect on who they are, and what it is that has distanced their souls from the outside world. Peter Skrzynecki expresses the themes of belonging and not belonging in great depth within his poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel. These poems express how the poet’s life experiences of belonging and not belonging have assisted in shaping him into who he is today. Janette Turner’s Blind Date is a novel that deeply commemorates the character’s experience with his father, as he lost his father at a young age, to later come to the realisation that he was the reason his father left. Therefore, society has come to a stage where they discover their identity in one of two ways, whether they belong or not.

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It is a natural human instinct to feel a desire to belong, and family is the main area where every individual desires that connection. When one doesn’t feel that attachment with their family they tend to feel disconnected from a lot of aspects of life around them, and they may seek to discover their identity elsewhere. Peter Skrzynecki expresses this idea in his poem Feliks Skrzynecki, where the poet felt a disconnection with his father Feliks due to the struggles they encountered as they migrated to a new land. Feliks is portrayed as a busy man whose main aim is to work and earn money for his family to survive in this foreign land they are now calling home. He is so focused on trying to belong within this estranged society rather than maintaining the family ties within his household. “Loved his garden like an only child”, Peter uses a simile to express the link between Feliks and his garden. He is emphasising on the notion of belonging as well as the sense of ownership that Feliks holds over his garden. The poet has come to recognise the happiness and connection that his father feels in this place of belonging he has created for himself; although the child feels a desire to be a part of that happiness with his father, he feels as though he will always remain distant. On the other hand, although the child feels distant and no sense of connection with his father, he recognises the agony and pain his father goes through on a daily basis in order to build his family’s future in their new home. “Never once heard him complain of work, the weather or pain”, this indicates that the narrator is considerate of his father’s experiences and he respects his father’s tenacity to keep working in order to make a living. The audience comes to the realisation that the poet’s admiration and love for his father is great, yet he feels distant at times. The concept of belonging with a family is understood through Feliks and his child in the poem Feliks Skrzynecki. The poem basically refers to the love the child feels towards his father, as well as the desire he feels to receive the same kind of love in return. This representation allows the audience to connect with the individuals in the poem, as they may come to realise that there may be children of this society who may feel the same way towards their parents. Children may feel disconnected from their parents as they may feel that their parents are always too busy to create that attachment within the household. This may lead them to seek their identity and discover aspects of life on their own, rather than being taught by their family. Therefore, belonging within a family is an important aspect for one to understand their individual identity and make the right decisions at different stages of their lives.

The idea of belonging exists in every aspect of one’s life, however it may come across in a way where they belong but at the same time there is a sense of disconnection. It is of human nature to instantly begin a search for belonging wherever an individual may be, however, only some individuals have the benefit of finding the connection. This is evident in Peter Skrzynecki’s poem Migrant Hostel, as all the individuals feel alienated in this foreign land they have all entered, yet they seek comfort and refuge within each other as they are all overcoming the same experiences. The Skrzynecki’s have a sense of discomfort in this new place that they are now in, without even having an introduction, they are expected to adapt to a new way of life, and this has been applied to a majority of migrants who have arrived here with them. It is a human necessity to feel some sort of connection anywhere an individual is, as it distances them from the feelings of isolation and depression, they feel as though they have a place in the world. If an individual is truly looking to belong, they will find themselves a place anywhere that shares one thing in common with their own personal characteristics. Peter Skrzynecki shares in his poem, “nationalities sought each other out instinctively”, this emphasises the fact that individuals feel a desire to belong with people around them, and so they automatically recognise those from the same ethnic background as themselves. However, although these individuals have found comfort with one another, they are all struggling to belong to this new environment, as it is not what they are used to being exposed to. “Arrivals of newcomers”, they aren’t even recognised by their individual names, or by anything which relates to their identity, instead they are referred to as a majority of anonymous individuals who have just entered the country. All these individuals in the poem are not recognised by anything other than a collection of migrants, therefore they feel alienated from the Australian society, yet they still managed to comfort themselves with each other and build an attachment within the group. The audience relates to this idea in the sense that it is a natural human instinct to find a sense of belonging wherever one may be, they will come to the realisation that although our context may not always suit out needs, we shall always find a place of comfort, even though it may not be anything major.

Belonging within a family plays a productive role in shaping one’s identity, as they base their preferences on their family traditions and what their ethnicity permits, it is family history that allows individuals to develop a better understanding of who they really are. If an individual fails to maintain a strong bond of connection within their family, they will struggle to find comfort elsewhere, although it is possible. Blind Date by Janette Turner explains the importance of honesty and good relations between families, because without that, truth will be exposed later on and the outcome may not be satisfactory. In the novel, Lachlan’s father left the family eight years ago, and he decides to come back suddenly for the wedding of his daughter. Although Lachlan is glad to see his father again, he is aware that his mother and sister don’t share the positive attitude. Lachlan remembers his father with nothing but a good image in his mind, he pictures his father as a man who deserves great respect, and “there will be an organ fanfare. Everyone will stand”, the child paints an image in his own mind that when his father enters the church doors it will all go perfectly. The author uses auditory imagery when the child imagines the “organ fanfare”; this allows the audience not only to picture the entrance, but also to hear the sounds of the orchestra playing their music to suit the ‘noble man’ entering the doors. The child’s mind is constantly reminiscing his moments with his father as “he remembers the last words he heard his father say. ‘I’m sorry mate’.” Lachlan’s memories of his father and how everything crashed down in that moment when his father was leaving, and he had nothing else to say other than “sorry”. As Lachlan waits the very moment to reunite with his father again, however, along the way throughout the novel he becomes exposed to the truths of his father that were hidden from him, and he becomes aware as to why his sister and his mother despise his father to such an extent. Many individuals only have the ability to see the good in others, yet that is why when they are then exposed to the truth they begin to hurt, as it is delivered to them as a disappointment. It is crucial that families create a bond where they are constantly honest with one another as families are the main source of belonging for individuals in life, and many people struggle without a family. Therefore, it is important to maintain strong family ties, in order for one to find some sort of connection to their own individual identity.

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To conclude Peter Skrzynecki explains how belonging assists in shaping one’s individual identity in the sense that one can always find a sense of connection with any part of their surroundings, this is portrayed in Migrant Hostel, although the individuals were aware that they did not have any sense of belonging to this new environment, they were capable to building a connection with each other as they all had the same experiences. In the poem Feliks Skrzynecki, the poet emphasises on the importance of creating family ties, as well as the bond between a father and his child, and how the child may feel disconnected at times due to how busy the parent is, and this may lead to the child not being able to live up to his full potential. The novel Blind Date by Janette Turner, relates to the poem Feliks Skrzynecki because they both explain the importance of maintaining family ties in order for one to have a main aspect of belonging in their life. Basically, for an individual to find their true identity, it is easier if they feel a sense of belonging, as they can relate certain characteristics of their own with those around them, however if one does not belong, they can also find a sense of belonging within themselves, yet they may not develop much confidence in themselves.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Themes of Belonging in the Poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel by Peter Skrzynecki. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“The Themes of Belonging in the Poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel by Peter Skrzynecki.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2019,
The Themes of Belonging in the Poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel by Peter Skrzynecki. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
The Themes of Belonging in the Poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel by Peter Skrzynecki [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 May 14 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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