Sample Essay Skrzynecki


Sample Essay Skrzynecki

The notion of belonging gives one a sense of security and shapes his or her true character. This concept of belonging is shown through Peter Skrzynecki’s poetry, “The Immigrant Chronicle” where he describes the hardships living as a migrant in Australia. More specifically, the poems “St Patrick College” and “Migrant Hostel” depict his perceptions of belonging.

The notion of belonging can alter one’s sense of security. In Peter Skrzynecki’s “St Patrick’s College” he (it would be a good idea to use the word ‘narrator’, even though the poem is autobiographical.) describes his dislocation and reluctance in adapting to a new environment. “Luceat Lux Vestra, I thought it was a brand of soap.” (The line “” indicates that… Try not to use a quote in isolation, even if it is just connecting the quote to the idea.) This shows his lack of understanding and approaches it in a humorous way. Throughout the poem, Skzrynecki uses the personal pronoun “I” to emphasise his lack of acceptance to the school environment. In contrast to his other poems where he uses collective pronouns that give him a sense of belonging to immigrants at least. However in this poem he is completely dislocated and does not share the same thought with even his mother. “with never a thought To fees and expenses – wanting only “what was best””. (Try to incorporate the punctuation from the original text) Skzrynecki uses inverted commas to further emphasise the point that he does not agree with his mother. The anaphora, “for eight years” shows his reluctance and that it is a large amount of time, moving slowly. Furthermore, the simile, “caught the 414 bus, like a foreign tourist” reinforces the idea that Skzrynecki does not belong in the school environment, nor does he have any neither motivation nor willingness to take part in the school. “St Patrick’s College” demonstrates clearly Skrzynecki’s disconnection and not belonging, giving him a lack of sense of belonging.

(Some high quality evidence, but there is very little discussion about these ideas and their connection to ‘security’. How do these ideas connect to the narrator feeling secure or insecure? How does this then connect to belonging? It is good to have evidence but it needs justification in order to work.)

The choice to belong or not belong is sometimes not available and is forced by nature. Skzrynecki describes his struggles to belong in the poem “Migrant Hostel” and shows his minority through this. The simile, “Like a homing pigeon, circling to get its bearings” describes the situation of Skzrynecki and the other immigrants, as not belonging anywhere. They are lost and have nowhere to go. The simile, “As is rose and fell like a finger” symbolizes the minority and discrepancies that the immigrants are dealing with. They are even being controlled by a piece of wood further destroying their status. Skzrynecki refers to certain aspects in his life through historical allusions, “Partitioned off at night, By memories of hunger and hate.”, deploying the tragedies faced by his family. The alliteration of “hunger” and “hate” emphasise the horrors by drawing a connection between the connotations of hunger and hate. Skrzynecki skillfully shows his dislocation to Australia as a migrant through the poem “Migrant Hostel” and displays his struggles to belong.

(Again, your evidence needs to refer to your idea of ‘meaning’ a little more closely.)

Ultimately, Skrzynecki portrays this notion that belonging gives a sense of security and through his poems, it clearly shows that without it, one feels insecure and emotionally fragile. He shows that sometimes there is no choice to belong or to not belong, but is more forced by nature. The two texts give a clear idea of the perceptions of belonging and how it can shape one’s character.

(A good conclusion, some of these points could be used higher up as a way of elaborating on the topic sentence of each paragraph.)


Some excellent evidence and discussion about the meaning of each line. You have covered the basic ideas in Skrzynecki’s poetry quite thoroughly.

You need to connect your detailed evidence and discussion to their meaning.The definition of belonging as being ‘security and shape of character’ is not really developed, nor does the evidence you have chosen support either idea. That’s not to say that the evidence chosen doesn’t reflect either idea, it’s just that you need to elaborate and connect these ideas to their meaning.

Focus on constructing an argument before you choose your evidence. Build your argument first, put your evidence in second.

Some excellent evidence but it needs to be oriented towards a central idea or theme. Ultimately, your essay does not really develop the two main ideas you outlined at the beginning. Focus more on constructing an argument more than anything. Your evidence should support that, rather than be there purely to indicate where there is belonging in the poems. Your definition was quite valid, however, for the marker to agree they must see you construct a case around it.

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