Belonging Essay

The search for belonging can involve conflict.
Belonging can be explicated as the connections that an individual has to people, place and culture which become constituents of an individual’s identity. These facets of belong place external pressure on an individual to find acceptance, a journey which often involves conflict and obstacles. The theme of an evolving identity through conflict is explored through Jason Reitman’s ‘Up in the Air’ (2009) and Peter Skrzynecki’s 10 Mary Street. The common theme of institutional pressures on an individual’s search for belonging is portrayed in Li Cunxin’s autobiography ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’ (2003) and Peter Skrzynecki’s St Patrick’s College. These texts demonstrate that in an individual’s search for belonging they must face conflict, and they must overcome certain obstacles to find a sense of belonging.
Belonging is a congenital human need which involves individuals coming to terms with their self-identity and thus finding acceptance from within. In 10 Mary Street, Skrzynecki faces the obstacle of clashing cultures, as his Polish heritage is heavily influenced by Australian traditions. The imagery of a neat and delicate garden rather than traditional Australian lawns expresses the Polish ties that exist. However this is juxtaposed by the use of destructive imagery as Skrzynecki ‘ravages the garden’ showing his attempt at removing the Polish aspects of his identity in order to keep him attached to Australian traditions and values. His identity crisis is further explored through the cumulative listing of Polish symbols and terminology portraying that even in Australia, he is keeping the Polish culture alive, indicating the notion of a dual identity.   Skrzynecki’s conflict of duality is one which is influenced by the clash of his cultural identity with his immigrant identity. Through his adaption to Australian society Skrzynecki develops a sense of self-understanding and acceptance, ultimately allowing him to belong.
In Up in...