Mean Girls 101

Belonging is a basic human need, it would seem to be a natural thing. We belong to groups, clubs, societies, and most of us long to belong to something. Belonging to a group, club or even the larger world can provide opportunities and disappointments to individuals. ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ and ‘St. Patrick’s college’, are two poems by Peter Skrzynecki which demonstrate this meaning of belonging. A related movie text is ‘mean girls’ directed by mark waters and a fiction book ‘Pinocchio’ by Walt Disney.
‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ is an ode written about his father. He describes his father – ‘he liked gardening’, ‘hard worker’, ‘didn’t sleep much’. This demonstrates that his father did these things as a getaway, a way to escape into his old life, as he felt he didn’t belong where he is now. He reminisces with his friends about how he was forced 5 years of labour in Germany, and how he had lived life previously, farming etc ‘loved his garden like an only child’. This shows us how much he misses his earlier life.
This latter is amazingly put. ‘Stumbling over tenses in Caesar’s Gallic war, I forgot my first polish word.’ At thirteen he is struggling with Latin and forgets his first polish word. There is irony here as he learns a dead language no one speaks anymore, and starts to forget his native language, which is very much still alive. The author also calls up the feeling of the father still being very polish in a country not his own. ‘Did your father ever attempt to learn English?’ he never lost his native language and never even learnt English, while the author is drawn more to the country.
Ironically, and this says a lot about the character of his father, it is not the author who is most happy, even though you would expect him to feel more at home. It is his father, ‘happy as I have never been’.
‘St Patrick’s College’ paints a portrait of Skrzynecki’s life at the school, it deals with belonging in relation to education, spirituality and faith. Skrzynecki’s mother was...