How are aspects of belonging used in your text to convey ideas about the human experience?
Belonging is not a fixed state, but a changeable spectrum, ranging from themes of alienation to perfect belonging, with a vast territory of possible human experiences in between. An individual’s sense of placement within this spectrum varies between people and is created from our personality traits, personal circumstances, and the environment in which we live. Both Peter Skrzynecki and J. D. Salinger explore this territory in their writing, and their texts are preoccupied with distinct ideas of the nature of what it means to belong, or not belong, and how a sense of inclusion impacts on our human sense of belonging.
As individuals, our personality traits influence our perspective of whether we view belonging as a choice, and as our personality traits differ amongst people so do these perspectives. The characters of Felix Skrzynecki and Holden Caulfield represent this aspect. Peter Skrzynecki shows in his poem “Felix Skrzynecki” that he views the concept of belonging as something which may be ingrained in you permanently, suggesting that despite his attempts to disconnect from his heritage he still belongs to the Polish culture, and that belonging is subconscious, rather than a decision individuals make. In stanza seven he writes, “At thirteen, stumbling over tenses in Caesar’s Gallic War, I forgot my first Polish word. He repeated it so I never forgot. After that, like a dumb prophet, watched me pegging my tents Further and further south of Hadrian’s Wall.” Within this quote Skrzynecki has used figurative language including metaphors and similes, as well as symbolism, an oxymoron and repetition to create an image of distance for the reader, comparing the tension between Rome and the Barbarians to that of Feliks and Peter Skrzynecki. It represents the wall which Peter Skrzynecki built between himself and his culture, and therefore between him and his farther. In response to this Felix Skrzynecki feels as though his son his betrayed him, he knows Peter Skrzynecki cannot separate himself from his origins no matter how hard he tries as it is a part of him and he will always belong to it. From this quote, it is articulated that whilst you can create distance from something you belong to, it will not create a disconnection; showing belonging is not always a personal choice. Whilst in “The Catcher in the Rye” J. D. Salinger expresses his beliefs that an individual may choose to not belong. Throughout the novel protagonist, Holden Caulfield expresses his pessimistic outlook towards life and his unwillingness to associate with others. The author uses symbolism, a stream of consciousness style and repetition of negative first person language to represent his character’s dissociation with society and to show that he has decided to separate from other people because he feels that he cannot connect. From these two texts, it is voiced that whet...