Belonging Essay

Belonging essay- Q: How does the composer use techniques to convey belonging? Belonging gives a strong sense of identity. It colours who we are and what we belong to. Belonging gives a sense of safety amongst our friends and family. Famous 19th century poet John Clare- ‘Self identity is one of the first principles in everybody’s life. Self identity defines who we are and what we have become. This essay will discuss the main issues involved with belonging and use texts from the poet Peter Skrzynecki, the movie The Devil Wears Prada and lastly the song somewhere I belong by Linkin Park.

Peter Skrynecki’s poems reflect a sense of belonging through many different ways and in many different contexts such as family, school and belonging to the land. In Skrynecki’s poems there are many different aspects of belonging partly to do with him migrating from Poland. Feliks Skrzynecki is a poem by Peter Skrzynecki that explores the relationship he has with his father. Their sense of belonging to the new land and contrasting experiences are explored throughout this poem. In the first stanza Peter Skrzynecki talks about his father’s personality.

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The line ‘Kept pace only with the Joneses of his own mind’s making’ suggests that his father sets his own standards as he is his own man. The second stanza explains Feliks physical description. Visual imagery is used when it says ‘Hands darkened from cement, fingers with cracks’. It shows how hardworking he is it also show images of hard labouring work. The third stanza talks about Peter Skrzynecki’s sense of non belonging compared to his dad it says ‘His polish friends always shook hands too violently, I thought’ also ‘That formal address I never got used to’.

Another thing Peter has wrote was ‘His polish friends talking about how they reminisced about farms where paddocks flowered’. This shows Feliks strong cultural identity with his polish friends and that he has a spiritual connection to the country that shaped him. Stanza 5 reflects on Peter’s experiences when he was growing up. The last stanza is of great importance as it shows how Peter is forgetting his Polish heritage as trys to fit in with his new Australian heritage. The first two lines ‘Stumbling over tenses in Caesar’s Gallic War I forgot my first Polish word’.

This demonstrates the distance that is growing between him and his polish culture. Another poem Peter Skrzynecki has used to depict belonging or in this case not belonging is the poem Migrant Hostel which is about Skrzynecki and his family’s 2 year stay at a migrant hostel in Parkes, country NSW in which they had felt like they were in some sort of prison. In the first stanza where Skrzynecki writes ‘Sudden departures from adjoining blocks’ show the constant change in which no one felt like they belonged there as they would never know when they were leaving.

The use of the simile ‘Nationalities sought each other out instinctively like a homing pigeon’ which is used in the second stanza draws the image of cultures all congregating together to try and gain a sense of belonging. In the last stanza we visualise a lot of images of how the migrants were so secluded from mainstream society for example ‘a barrier at the main gate sealed off the highway’ gives the image of a prison and emphasises the migrants pain from being excluded from society.

Throughout this poem it can be seen that there is a constant search for identity even though they are locked in this migrant hostel and secluded from society. Peter Skrzynecki has also used the poem 10 Mary Street to show how they planted there roots in Australia and started a new life. This poem is very descriptive with lots repeated images it also talks about having a sense of community with other migrants like them. It also deals with Skrzynecki’s family finding there identity and then losing it again.

In the first stanza the phrase ‘Like a well oiled lock’ is a simile which emphasises the routine nature of there lives the word ‘lock’ also shows there security and connection they have to their home. In the second stanza Skrzynecki uses garden imagery to show the positive quality of his home life. There is also a reoccurring image with his reference to children and his garden which is the same in Feliks Skrzynecki. Stanza 4 emphasises how they remembered and kept there culture and heritage alive. Skrzynecki’s Polish heritage was kept alive with food, drink, visitors and conversation this also gave them a ense of belonging as they have bought there heritage to 10 Mary street. Stanza 5 talks about being naturalized which is term that means being made an Australian citizen which also refers to Skrzynecki having a new identity and becoming ‘citizens of the soil that was feeding us’. 10 Mary street gave the family stability and a security at a time when it was most needed. David Frankel the director of The Devil Wears Prada shows how techniques throughout a movie can give a better understanding of belonging or a lack of belonging.

The Devil Wears Prada centres around the main character Andrea whose dream is to become a journalist. Andrea then lands a job at runway magazine but soon finds out she has to change her personality and attitude to fit in with her work colleagues which then results in her loosing her friends and family once to which she belonged too. On Andreas first day at Runway Frankel uses setting to show how demanding and chaotic the office is. This comes as a shock to Andrea because this is nothing she has seen before.

This gave the viewer an understanding that the setting was a very unwelcoming and unpleasant place to be especially for Andrea. Another technique used by Frankel to show Andreas lack of belonging is a close up on Miranda the editor in Chiefs face. David Frankel used this to show the horrific look on her face at what Andrea is wearing it then goes onto show a close up of what Andrea is actually wearing. This was utilised for people to see that Andrea isn’t so fashionable and maybe has never cared about her appearance because the people around her have gotten to know her for who she is and not what she is wearing.

Further on in the movie Frankel uses more techniques to portray a lack of belonging. For example Andreas first day on the job the costume that she was wearing was very unlike what everyone else at Runway wore and by her facial expressions you could see that she felt very insecure about herself. David Frankel has used these techniques throughout the movie to show that belonging to something or someone can define who we are even though sometimes we have to sacrifice your friends and family in order to fit in.

Somewhere I belong by Linkin park is about a man who feels out of place and alone. This person has no-one but himself. The main issue that is raised in this song is depression and it is conveyed through underlying messages, tones, lyrics and speaking from first person. Another issue that is raised is how it is important to have friendships and how people will do anything in order to fit in. Linkin park have many techniques in their song to convey the message of belonging. One of the techniques used is first person.

Throughout the song, the words “I” and “my” are used. This technique was used to make it seem more real, as if this person is actually telling you what happened in their life and how they feel. This technique encourages a sense of empathy because the listener feels more attached because they can hear the person who this happened to. E. g. ‘I will never be anything till I break away from me’ which tells you that he needs to compromise with some things that are happening in his life in order to enjoy his life.

Another techniques used by Linkin Park to convey belonging was tone. The tone that is used throughout this song is an angry and emotional tone. This is understandable as this song talks about a person that feels out of place and may have anger towards certain people because of this. In conclusion the texts that have been looked at all contain a sense of belonging or not belonging. The composers for these texts have utilised techniques in a way to show how someone’s personality, actions, and the world around them can effect the sense of belonging they have.


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