Free Essay


In: English and Literature

Submitted By sazza111
Words 1244
Pages 5
Belonging is considered to be a broad concept which can offer many individuals a sense of security, identity as well as connectivity. An individual’s viewpoints on belonging can be related to the interactions they have with others, as a positive view may enhance their sense of belonging, whereas, a negative view may limit their ability to do so. Through an individual’s inability to express their positive attitudes towards others, can often be the reason why one may reject the ideas of belonging through acts such as rebellion and self-alienation. This perception can be explored within Peter Skrzynecki’s poem St Patricks College, as it portrays the characters partial experiences of belonging through his relationships with others which lead to his self-alienation and rebellion. In contrast with this is Peter Skrzynecki’s poem 10 Mary Street which explores the positive attitudes of belonging through the relationships of family as well as culture. Similarly the film Little Miss Sunshine directed by Jonathan Dayton has incorporated both positive and negative attitudes of belonging and has incorporated the physical, emotional and social factors of belonging within a community and family.

The negative attitudes and views within a group or community has reiterated a limited sense of belonging within Peter skrzynecki’s poem St Patricks College. The persona within the poem recalls his schooling years of sadness whilst using a dull tone to demonstrate his isolation from the school community. This is portrayed metaphorically within the description of the personas schooling years being “overshadowed by clouds” portraying a sense of darkness, which is ironic as the school motto is “Luceat Lux Vesta”, which translates to “let your light shine”. This has portrayed the personas insecurity within the school community and demonstrates his limited experiences of belonging. The poem also includes views of the persona’s mother. This has been portrayed through the symbolism of the actions of the persona and his mother, enhancing and limiting their views of belonging within the school community. “She said a prayer for my future intentions” is said by the persona’s mother to demonstrate her respect and sense of belonging towards the schools rituals. This has been juxtaposed by the actions of her reckless son as he violently “stuck pine needles into the motto”. This symbolises how the persona views the school, which therefore limits his ability to belong. Furthermore, the negative views of belonging are further depicted when the persona feels a sense of discomfort as he “caught the 414 bus like a foreign tourist, Uncertain of my destination Every time I got off.” Skrzynecki has incorporated a simile by comparing the persona to a” foreign tourist” emphasising his alienation within the setting expressing the ongoing idea of a limited view point of belonging.

The idea that negative and positive interactions and viewpoints within a family and other groups can lead to a limited and enhanced sense of belonging is further portrayed in the film “Little Miss Sunshine” directed by Jonathan Dayton. The central theme of the film is based on the connotation of winners and losers further related to the concepts of a physical emotional and social belonging. The audience is introduced to the Hoover family within the opening scene through a montage of each character. An extreme close up is used on Olive Hoovers face overwhelmed with large glasses, reflecting the scenes of a beauty pageant through the use of camera cutting. The implication of winning is emphasised through the voice over of Richard Hoover, Olive’s father, as he promotes his “refuse to lose plan”. The use of a Low angle shot is used in this scene to portray a sense of a superior and authoritative figure. Ironically when the camera pans to his audience it becomes clear that they are none other than a group of children, which therefore decreases and illustrates the negative views of belonging. Towards the end of the montage, a close up is used on Franks face, Olives uncle, showing a blank expression as he battles depression after a suicide attempt. This has been juxtaposed as the words little miss sunshine are superimposed on his face. The concept of winning has been upheld throughout the film; however it has created a negative view in order for each family member to find a sense of belonging. Towards the end of the film it become clear that the positive views of belonging have changed the way in which the Hoover family acts towards each other. When they all arrive at the beauty contest it is clear that the setting is bright and feminine, the lighting on the stage and the backgrounds all looked artificial, the girls competing looked like plastic dolls, emphasising what is acceptable within society. the use of a close up is used when Dwayn enters the change room as he is worried that the people will laugh at olive as she does not fit in “ they are going to laugh at her, I don’t want these people judging olive”. Behind the hoover family are all the young girls doing their makeup, however olive has her back towards them further portraying that she does not want to be subjected to that environment; further emphasising the positive attitudes she has towards not belonging to society.

A positive view of belonging often begins at birth where a person’s family interactions begin and a sense of belonging is created. This is portrayed in Skrzynecki’s poem 10 Mary Street, as the views of family are established. “Each morning, shut the house Like a well-oiled back” the simile used depicts the appreciation of the family’s daily routine. Within the poem, it is clear that the persona’s parents have gained their sense of belonging through the symbolism of their well- tendered garden; “My parents watered, Plants- grew potatoes and rows of sweet corn”. The use of imagery emphasises this concept. The persona’s parents, love for their garden is further depicted through the simile “Tendered roses and camellias, like adopted children”. This also reveals the positive view point of the persona’s parent’s deep love and admiration as they gain a sense of security. However this has been contrasted with the description of the parent’s job as “polite hum-drum”- a colloquial expression meaning boring.Stanza four shows the persona’s interaction and views of others through the repetition of the line “for nineteen years” as well as the firm tone used in the line “we lived together”. Skrzynecki has portrayed an enriched sense of belonging through the unity and views of each family member by keeping “pre- war Europe alive with photographs and letters”, thus creating the ideas of where the persona’s family has come from and further emphasising their cultural belonging. Furthermore, imagery has once again been used to identify the old polish culture which has in essence, brought the persona closer to his family and cultural traditions. This is seen when the persona says “Visitors that ate Kielbasa, salt herrings”. The connection between the persona’s heritage and family has enhanced and enriched concept of belonging.

In essence, an individual’s interaction with others, whether that interaction is positive or negative, will either enrich or limit their experience of belonging. These ideas are seen in St Patricks college as well as in Little miss sunshine, as they both share limited and negative interactions of belonging. However the positive interactions of belonging are seen in both little miss sunshine as well as 10 Mary Street as they both experience their own enriched sense of belonging.

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