Perceptions and Ideas of Belonging

Perceptions and ideas of belonging, or of not belonging, vary. These perceptions are shaped within personal, cultural, historical and social contexts. A sense of belonging can emerge from the connections made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger world. Texts may also represent choices not to belong, or barriers which prevent belonging. Perceptions and ideas of belonging, or of not belonging, vary. In the poem Feliks Skrzynecki by Peter Skrzynecki, Feliks and Peter have different perceptions of belonging in Australia and the necessity of belonging in Australia.

Feliks, the father, represents an alienation of an older migrant while Peter experiences the gradual integration of acceptance and affiliation in a new society. In the film Bend It Like Beckham directed by blah blah Jess and her mother have different perceptions of where she should belong. Her mother wants her to belong to the family and into an arranged marriage – “I was married at your age! You don’t even want to learn to cook dhal! ”, however Jess wants to rebel against the typical Indian lifestyle and belong to her sport team instead.

Perceptions of belonging are shaped within personal, cultural, historical and social contexts. In the poem, Feliks Skrzynecki the father’s sense of belonging come from his Polish background, and his personal and historical context of being a laborer. Peter’s contrasting sense of alienation comes from his cultural context of being surrounded by Polish culture but never having been there himself and his personal context of experience of education. In the folk museum – The persona’s sense of alienation in the museum comes from his completely different cultural, historical and social context.

He struggles to relate to the rural, colonial Australian experience – “to remind me of a past which isn’t mine”. In the film Bend It Like Beckham Jess feels a sense of alienation due to her cultural context. Her friend’s mother treats her differently all the time due to being Indian and also at the game when Jess is called a “paki”, a racial slur in England. A sense of belonging can come from connections made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger world. This is shown through Peter Skrzynecki’s poem Feliks Skrzynecki where Peter’s father’s strong sense of elonging comes from his connections with his friends (people), garden (place) and his cultural heritage. Also in Skrzynecki’s poem 10 Mary Street which explores Peter’s strong connection to place and the discomfort that comes when the place is threatened – “the whole block has been gazette for industry”. In the film Bend It Like Beckham, Jess feels a sense of belonging with her soccer team while at home she feels a sense of alienation and rejection from her family due to the time she put into playing soccer and to her falsely accused sexual orientation – “Mother, just because I wear trackies and play sport does not make me a lesbian! There may be barriers which prevent belonging such as in Skrzynecki’s poem The Folk Museum where Peter’s distance from the cultural heritage and rural experiences of the artifacts displayed in the museum is a barrier preventing him from engaging in them. In Feliks Skrzynecki, Feliks faces a language barrier which prevents him from engaging in the wider community – “Did your father ever bother to learn English? ”.

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