Peter Skrzynecki- “Acceptance Can Lead to a Sense of Fulfillment, but at a Cost” (Belonging) Essay

People may see belonging as a good thing. However it can come with a cost. Belonging can be seen as a sense of security, achievement or for a purpose. A sense of belonging can emerge from the connections made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger community. There are different concepts of belonging and they can be described through the use of various language and film techniques. Belonging is evident in Peter Skrzynecki’s poems St Patrick’s College and Felix Skrzynecki and in the film Mean Girls directed by Mark Waters. Both composers use various ways of interpreting belonging and not belonging.

Through the use of language techniques such as cliche and hyperbole, and film techniques such as characterization, we can gain a greater understanding of belonging and its costs. Conformity requires an individual to get out of their comfort zone in order to belong to a certain group. This may cause them to loose their inner self and make them feel unwanted. In Peter Skrzynecki’s poem, St Patrick’s College, he makes evident the concept of conformity. Skrzynecki, in the first stanza, portrays conformity through the school, “impressed by the uniform”.

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This shows us that Skrzynecki has conformed and now belongs St Patrick’s. Through a cliche, Skrzynecki states that his mother only sent him to that school because she wanted to give him “what was best”. This quote allows the reader to be vicarious with him as everyone has experienced what their parents thought “what was best”. Peter Skrzynecki in St Patrick’s College is accepted to the school; however it isn’t evident that he wants to be accepted. Throughout the poem the reader gains a sense that he may not want to belong there. This is a cost however, Skrzynecki has to pay.

Social expectations are everywhere when it comes to belonging with its positives and negatives. Mark Waters explores social expectations in his film Mean Girls by the use of characterisation. Cadie feels a need to belong in her new school, so in order to achieve her goal she is faced with two expectations from two rivals. This is an example of a negative to belonging. Waters uses characterisation to make evident of the hardship of belonging. This is evident when Cadie’s friend, Janice, states “we’re gonna turn Regina George’s life around. She’s a life ruiner”.

This shows that Janice expects Cadie to take part in her high school revenge and as Cadie wants to belong and not be an outsider, she obviously takes part. However, Cadie then has expectations from Regina George. Regina expects Cadie to act, talk and dress like the rest of the “plastics”. This seems like a positive aspect to Cadie, however through the film, it becomes evident that Cadie becomes a social reject by all members of the school and realises that as she tried to fit in, it didn’t last forever because of all the expectations put towards her.


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