Skrzynecki and Lord of the Flies
‘A feeling of belonging depends on a strong relationship, developed over a period of time.
’ To what extent would you support this viewpoint? In your essay refer in detail to your prescribed text and at least ONE other related text of your own choosing. According to sociobiologists, the need for human connection and belonging is hardwired and genetically dictated.It defines ‘who’ and ‘what’ we are, and how we fit into the world around us. An individual’s sense of connection may be influenced by many factors, but one of the strongest of these is a strong relationship or relationships, which have been developed over a period of time. This human connection is instrumental in defining an individual’s place in the world as well as his or her sense of belonging.The notion that a feeling of belonging depends on a strong relationship is explored in Peter Skrzynecki’s prose poetry anthology Immigrant Chronicle (1975) – in particular the poems ‘Migrant Hostel’ in which the persona and his family struggle to gain lasting relationships at the hostel, and ’10 Mary Street’, the persona’s childhood home, in which strong familial relationships were forged – and William Golding’s prose fiction text Lord of the Flies (1958), in which a group of school boys stranded on an island gradually lose any strong relationships they may have had as their civilisation descends into violence and savagery.Both these texts memorably and distinctively explore how relationships and acceptance can shape an individual’s perceptions of belonging and not belonging.
Skrzynecki and Lord of the Flies Essay Example
Set in the context of a post-war assimilationist culture, ‘Migrant Hostel’ represents the immense sense of disconnection experienced by the persona and his family, given both their dislocation from their European homeland and their lack of strong relationships with the other members of the hostel.The migrants’ transitory existence is emphasised through the use of a migratory bird simile – “For over two years we lived like birds of passage, always sensing a chance in the weather” – while through the use of connotative language to highlight the persona’s disconnection, the poem provides an overall sense of helplessness and lack of autonomy in determining their own future – “Sudden departures from adjoining blocks that left us wondering who would be coming next” – thus constructing the hostel as a place of impotence and impermanence.This evident transience is perhaps symbolic of the migrants’ own fleeting sense of connection as they instinctively seek out members of their own culture, efficaciously conveyed through the use of a familiar analogy – “nationalities sought/each other out instinctively – like a homing pigeon/circling to get its bearings”.These superficial relationships thus serve to hinder the development of any lasting sense of belonging – regardless of a common history and identity – as, whilst for some migrants, their time in the hostel represents a new beginning, for others the sustained sense of alienation and despair, due to a lack of strong relationships, becomes too difficult to bear, as the final lines of the poem poignantly suggest through juxtaposition – “lives/that had only begun/or were dying”. Thus a feeling of belonging depends on a strong relationship, developed over a period of time.Standing in stark contrast to ‘Migrant Hostel’ is the poem ’10 Mary Street’, which portrays the persona’s strong feelings of belonging to his childhood home as a result of the strong familial relationships which were forged during his time there. The family’s domestic routine is depicted and their unity of existence is simply, but effectively conveyed in the first stanza through inclusive language – “We departed/Each morning, shut the house/Like a well-oiled lock”, alluding to their sense of family security.
The beginning of the second stanza alludes to the fact that, despite the family’s integration into mainstream society, their socioeconomic marginalisation continues. Through the simple use of connotation and onomatopoeia, the responder is positioned to recognise the mundane nature of the menial labour the persona’s parents nevertheless stoically endure – “From the polite hum-drum/Of washing clothes/And laying sewage pipes”. Consequently, it is in the context of the Skrzynecki family’s ongoing marginalisation that the sense of belonging afforded by the family home gains deeper significance.Feelings of nourishment and well-being are generated through combining a simile and cumulative imagery as the persona’s parents extend their nurturing to the family garden – “My parents watered/Plants- grew potatoes/ And rows of sweet corn:/ Tended the roses and camellias/ Like adopted children”. Thus, the persona’s strong sense of belonging as depicted in this poem is a result of the strong relationships with his family which were forged during his time there.While similar to Immigrant Chronicle on a superficial level, to the extent that both texts represent individual’s experiences of alienation and dislocation, Golding’s text Lord of the Flies explores representations of belonging, in terms of relationships, differently. Composed in the context of the Cold War nuclear arms power race, Golding’s text can be read as an allegory of the impossibility of human civilisation in which individuals are able to coexist without ultimately resorting to violence and savagery.
The character of Piggy represents the scientific and rational side of society – portrayed in this text as a minority. From the beginning of the novel, Piggy has little by way of close relationships – “A storm of laughter arose and even the tiniest child joined in. For the moment the boys were a closed circuit of sympathy with Piggy on the outside. ” It is in this moment that both the extent of Piggy’s alienation is highlighted while the disintegration into chaos and disorder is also foreshadowed through the breaking of Piggy’s glasses, a symbol of rational civilisation.When Piggy’s glasses are broken during a major battle between Ralph and Jack towards the end of the book, this destruction symbolises the ultimate desolation of civilisation on the island, and, with it, any sense of belonging that the boys on the island had attempted to inculcate. This destruction can be viewed as a decimation of any strong relationships that the boys may have had – particularly between Piggy, Ralph and Jack – and can be read as reason for the poignant lack of belonging on the island.Jack Merridew, who begins as the head hunter, comes to embody the spirit of chaos and destruction on the island.
While it can be argued that it is Jack’s lack of a strong ‘familial’ relationship with Ralph and Piggy that incites his search for power, Golding implies that the human instinct of barbarism greatly outweighs that of civilisation. When Jack first realises how much power he has, any sense of belonging he feels to the other boys is annihilated, the moment when Jack and his hunters finally manage to capture and kill a pig, marking Jack’s descent into bestial savagery, – “Look!We’ve killed a pig – we stole up on them – we got in a circle –”. The hyphenation utilised in this dialogue is subtly indicative of Jack’s inevitable loss of any sense of civility as he develops a warped relationship to his barbaric activities, ultimately seducing the majority of the boys off to a separate camp, where their descent into primitive barbarism becomes evident – “The chief was sitting there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him. While giving Jack a sense of power and self-importance, this new ‘tribe’, built on a mutual savage desire for food, has diminished the boys’ sense of friendship and camaraderie. It is this lack of a strong relationship developed over a period of time which is cause for their lack of a strong sense of belonging. Evidently it is clear, upon examination of Immigrant Chronicle and Lord of the Flies, that a feeling of belonging relies heavily on a strong relationship developed over a period of time.
In Skrzynecki’s poem ‘Migrant Hostel’, the persona’s evocative sense of isolation is due to his lack of any strong relationships as well as any attempts at establishing them. In contrast to this, ’10 Mary Street’ clearly provides a strong sense of belonging as a result of the persona’s strong familial relationships. In Lord of the Flies, the boys stranded on the island attempt to cling to their superficial relationships to each other, but, in the face of dwindling food supplies, eventually descend into savagery, diminishing their relationships and ultimately their sense of belonging.