Belonging - Anne of Green Gables and Feliks Skrzynecki

A strong sense of self is not sufficient to assimilate to a particular social environment, as one must also identify strongly with both the people and places within that social environment. While very different texts, both ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ and ‘Anne of Green Gables’ explore this idea, albeit from different angles.
The poem ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ highlights Peter Skrzynecki‘s dislocation from both his Polish cultural heritage and the Australian culture he lives in. There is very little mention of Australia or Australian culture throughout this poem. The Skrzynecki family, particularly Feliks, who is the subject of the poem and also Peter’s stepfather, have created a safe environment to exist in, shown in the line ‘...kept pace only with the Jonses of his own mind’s making’ as well as the motif of the garden Feliks has created, and the hyperbole ‘…Swept its paths/ten times around the world’, which highlights how comfortable Feliks feels in his garden. While Peter Skrzynecki’s parents are comfortable in the environment, often reminiscing about Poland, Peter himself does not feel as though he completely fits in this world, seen in the line ‘Happy as I have never been’. The poet’s only knowledge of his parent’s culture is from what his parents have told him, and as such he feels dislocated from that culture, shown through the contrast of personal possessive pronouns such as ‘my gentle father, when Peter is referring to his stepfather, and the use of third person pronouns when he is talking about his stepfather’s Polish culture: ‘His Polish friends’, ‘they reminisced’.   This alienation and uncertainty surrounding the poet’s Polish culture, in combination with his lack of connection to Australian culture left Peter uncertain as to what culture he should identify with, thus damaging his sense of self.
Although Peter is uncertain as to his culture and identity, the poem conveys a strong sense of familial belonging.   Peter clearly has a great level of respect and...