Belonging Essay

Belonging is a universal concept that appears simple and yet holds complex truths about humanity. It is the state in which an individual holds a place of purpose and is valued for one’s own intrinsic identity within a group or relationship. An individual sense of belonging can be formed directly by family and ancestral links and sharing morals and ideas with others. It is through these key factors that an individuals personal identity is developed and therefore inevitably their sense of belonging. The poems by Peter Skryznecki, St Patrick’s College, Feliks Skryznecki and Ancestors, show how these values create a sense of belonging. These ideas are also conveyed in the texts Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir, and the short story The Lost Salt Gift Of Blood by Alistair Macleod.

Shared morals and ideas can allow an individual to find a sense of belonging to others. Peter Skrzynecki’s poem St Patrick’s college shows that religious ideas in particular can form a community to which an individual might belong. The recurring motif of Our Lady represents religion; the personification “watched with outstretched arms” shows how Peter is being accepted into the religious community. The simile “Like a Foreign tourist” conveys a floating limbo, suggesting he is unable to create a sense of belonging not only within the school but outside it as well.   He “could say the Lord’s Prayer in Latin, all in one breathe.” shows that rather than establishing an intrinsic sense of belonging, Skryznecki merely obeys instruction and tolerates the enforced community thrust upon him. The last line of the poem, using light imagery, “Darkness around me… before I let my light shine” shows that religious protocol and enforced community means nothing and only establishes a surface or superficial sense of belonging. This shows that it is only when you individually accept, in a proactive action, those morals and ideas that you truly belong.

Shared morals and ideas can also contribute a...