Belonging Essay

ENGLISH- The search for belonging can involve conflict.

Jeanne Elium once quoted that 'the conflict between the need to belong to a group and the need to be seen as unique and individual is the dominant struggle of adolescence'- Belonging is an integral part of the human psyche and though one may never fully comprehend the eloquent forces that drive us to belong in society, the challenge to be accepted can involve conflicts of differing nature, such as familial and cultural discrepancies and barriers which may inhibit the realisation of a meaningful sense of belonging. Texts that explore this notion include Peter Skrzynecki's poem St Patrick's College, Nick Long's short story The Ride of Zhu Bao Sheng and the Kate Woods' 2000 film Looking for Alibrandi.

St Patrick's College by Skrzynecki depicts the persona's overwhelmingly bleak and uncongenial tenure at the school, partly due to a perennial conflict with the college. It is manifest that since the first day of attendance, the persona has felt a sense of detachment from the school, which is emphasised in the punctuation. The caesura used after his mum "left me at the office" structurally represents the fleeting break in Skrzynecki's thought, as he perturbs about being abandoned in unfamiliar surroundings to which he has no sense of belonging to. The apprehension is further conveyed through the imagery in the lines "stuck pine needles into the motto onto my breast." The use of enjambment also highlights his inherent conflict towards the school, as by recklessly dishonouring the motto, he is going against the values and traditions of the institution. His contempt towards the school's uniform is emphasised again when the persona ironically mentions that it was an "privilege wearing the blue, black and gold."
Though the protagonist in St Patrick's College has attended the school for an extended period of time , he never has a concrete connection with it and concludes that "it wasn't for the best"- ironic when...