English Essay – Belonging Question – Belonging has been said to shape our identity. How does our sense of belonging shape who we are as individual? An individuals relationship with others and the world creates a sense of belonging and additionally shapes a sense of identity. This is demonstrated in the poems “Migrant Hostel”, “St Patrick’s College” by Peter Skrzynecki and a novel “Tea With Arwa” written by Arwa El Masri. Both text illustrate that belonging is a notion that shapes an individual’s identity. The factors that influence belonging and not belonging are Place, society and lastly identity.
The Text Migrant Hostel demonstrates that Peter Skrzynecki does not belong to the place migrant hostel. The promise of a place of belong – a new land and new opportunities. The Quote “To pass in and out of lives that had only begun or were dying” is an irony and also a juxtaposition as the words “begun or were dying” juxtapose their sense of belonging to Australia has already died before it even begun. The migrants wonder whether their new lives are starting or it ending as the quote creates a sense of ambiguity.
They question whether immigrant’s lives are about to have a fresh start or whether the arrival in Australia signifies the end of their culture. This clearly stated that relationship with others and the world can creates a sense of belonging and therefore shapes a sense of identity. However, Peter cannot find a sense of belonging because he cannot connect with the place. The other text St Patrick’s College demonstrates that Peter also cannot find a sense of belonging with the place. Peter was uncertain about his schooling years which represented through various activities he was involved during his journey to school.
The school’s values and beliefs prevent him to feel a sense of belonging to that institution. “Like a foreign tourist, uncertain of my destination” is a simile that demonstrates Peter does not belong to the world. His cultural heritage made him feel like he didn’t belong and therefore he became alienated to the places that surrounded him. This illustrates that without a sense of belonging, it is hard to shape a sense of identity. Peter Skrzynecki lacks a sense of belonging to Australia and the Australian society.
In the text Migrant Hostel, there’s a line saying “A barrier at the main gate sealed off the highway”. It a symbolism of not belonging. This becomes a barrier for Peter not to belong. They feel separation and alienation as this barrier cuts them off from the outside world and the society which prevents them to belong. This further demonstrates how a relationship with the others and the world can creates a sense of belonging or not belonging. In the text St Patrick’s College, Peter feels like an outsider as he feels a sense of not belonging. He did not fit into the schools society, which impacted his identity.
In this poem, the ritual of going to school everyday for eight years: walking “Strathfield’s paths and streets”, playing “chasing up and down the station’s ten ramps” and catching “the 414 bus” still left him feeling like a “foreign tourist” who is uncertain of his destination every time he got off. The structure of the poem demonstrates Peter is uncertain as he feels a lack of belonging and therefore his identity is constantly transitioning. Peter’s 8 years time spent in school is condensed into 9 lines. This communicates that he is lack of belonging.
When juxtaposed with the last stanza “my last day” with is the longest stanza in the poem. It emphasis that Peter felt content about leaving the school. “Our lady watched, with outstretched arms, her face overshadowed by clouds. ” is a symbolism and pathetic fallacy which further communicates that he believed that the schools beliefs did not allow individual self-expression that did not contribute to a sense of belonging. This highlights he is out of place, therefore cannot feel a sense of belonging. He did not belong to this social group that his mother wanted him to belong to.
Motif of birds “we lived like a birds of passage” in the text Migrant Hostel demonstrates that the immigrants wants freedom and identity, however, they are not “stable” like birds and constantly moving. This affects their sense of belonging to place and additionally their sense of identity. This illustrate that the migrants don’t have identity since they can’t find the sense of belonging. The text St Patrick’s College explores the effects of schooling on an individual’s sense of identity. This lack of belonging with the school impacts Peter’s identity, therefore, he feels ambivalent.
This poem does not incorporate any relationships Peter had with friends within the school, which additionally impacted the development of his identity. The quote “I stuck pine needles into the motto” is irony and symbolism. The motto represents core values and Peter is desecrating these ideas. Peter does not accept or understand the values the school held. This further illustrates without relationships with others, it cannot create a sense of belonging. The book Tea With Arwa written by Arwa El Masri demonstrate belonging can shape a sense of belonging through place, society and identity.
Arwa is a child of many countries, at that time she was like “birds of passage”. But her parents came to Australia to give Arwa a place to belong. This creates a sense of belonging and therefore creates a sense of identity. Then Arwa slowly assimilated into the Australia culture and society, “she lost her accent and stopped being startled when Kookaburras laughed”. She find a sense of belonging in the Australian society and relationships with the world which helps her shapes her identity. Arwa decided to wear the veil and the public was assumed she did not speak english, but the assumption were wrong.
She has her own family, relationships with friends and a place she can belong. All this creates a sense of belonging and build up her identity as an Palestinian migrant. All this demonstrates that belonging of place, society and identity can shape a sense of identity. The above all demonstrates how an individual’s relationship with others and the world can creates a sense of belonging and therefore shapes a sense of identity. The factors: place, society and identity can creates a sense of belonging and identity, therefore, shapes who we are as an individual.