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Feliks Skrzynecki Poem Deconstruction - Section III Belonging GMacEnglish.

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Presentation on theme: "Feliks Skrzynecki Poem Deconstruction - Section III Belonging GMacEnglish."— Presentation transcript:

1 Feliks Skrzynecki Poem Deconstruction - Section III Belonging GMacEnglish

2 KISS What is the poem about? What are the main ideas/ aspects of Belonging? What is obvious? What is unclear?

3 My gentle father Kept pace only with the Joneses Of his own mind’s making – Loved his garden like an only child, Spent years walking its perimeter From sunrise to sleep. Alert, brisk and silent, He swept its paths Ten times around the world.

4 times around the world. Hands darkened From cement, fingers with cracks Like the sods he broke, I often wondered how he existed often wondered how he existed On five or six hours’ sleep each night – Why his arms didn’t fall off From the soil he turned And tobacco he rolled.

5 His Polish friends Always shook hands too violently, I thought… Feliks Skrzynecki, That formal address I never got used to. Talking, they reminisced About farms where paddocks flowered With corn and wheat, Horses they bred, pigs They were skilled in slaughtering. Five years of forced labour in Germany Did not dull the softness of his blue eyes

6 I never once heard Him complain of work, the weather Or pain. When twice They dug cancer out of his foot, His comment was: ‘but I’m alive’.but I’m alive

7 Growing older, I Remember words he taught me, Remnants of a language I inherited unknowingly – The curse that damned A crew-cut, grey-haired Department clerk Who asked me in dancing-bear grunts: ‘Did your father ever attempt to learn English?

8 On the back steps of his house, Bordered by golden cypress,golden cypress Lawns – geraniums younger Than both parents, My father sits out the evening With his dog, smoking, Watching stars and street lights come on, Happy as I have never been.

9 At thirteen, Stumbling over tenses in Caesar’s Gallic War,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.Hadrian’s Wall.

10 Thesis # 1 An individual's sense of connectedness to others is impermanent. This fluidity manifests moments of solidarity, comfort and affection, whilst there is also the possibility of emotionally low troughs, trauma and tension, even within a familial context.

11 Thesis # 2 There is often a generational difference in the adaptiveness of an individual when faced with the challenge of acclimatising within a new environment. Young people are usually flexible and explorative - pushed by their hopes and dreams for the future. Older generations are physically and mentally less pliable - pulled by their best experiences in the past. These divergent attitudes to belonging can cause significant familial tensions.

12 Social and physical environments are usually determining factors in providing a sense of identity or connectedness, yet some individuals may seal themselves off in a metaphorical vacuum, finding solace in their memories of the past. The composer establishes this characteristic in ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ through the paradoxical statement (insert quote) suggesting his father is ignoring the social pressures of conformity, exemplified in the idiomatic ‘the Joneses’. His determination to find his own sense of self is reinforced through the alliterative ‘mind’s making’ and the caesura that strikingly segregates Feliks through the structure of the poem itself. Kept pace only with the Joneses Of his own mind’s making –

13 Social and physical environments are usually determining factors in providing a sense of identity or connectedness, yet some individuals may seal themselves off in a metaphorical vacuum, finding solace in their memories of the past. The composer establishes this characteristic in ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ through the paradoxical statement (insert quote) suggesting his father is ignoring the social pressures of conformity, exemplified in the idiomatic ‘the Joneses’. His determination to find his own sense of self is reinforced through the alliterative ‘mind’s making’ and the caesura that strikingly segregates Feliks through the structure of the poem itself and identifies him as a character who has found comfort without the need for broader social inclusion. Kept pace only with the Joneses Of his own mind’s making –

14 As we grow older there is an instinctual yearning for the past, especially those ‘rose tinted’ fragments of our personal history. In the poem, this idea causes a rift in the familial bonds between father and son, as seen through the soundscaped imagery created through the sibilance and assonance in (insert quote). These memories from the persona are removed and distant, only faint sounds, rather than events he has seen directly, suggestive of a disconnection in the relationship between father and son. This frustration is further expressed in the hyperbole (insert quote) to convey the exaggerated feelings of disunity within this family setting. Spent years walking its perimeter From sunrise to sleep. Alert, brisk and silent, He swept its pathsTen times around the world.

15 He swept its pathsTen times around the world. As we grow older there is an instinctual yearning for the past, especially those ‘rose tinted’ fragments of our personal history. In the poem, this idea causes a rift in the familial bonds between father and son, as seen through the soundscaped imagery created through the sibilance and assonance in (insert quote). These memories from the persona are removed and distant, only faint sounds, rather than events he has seen directly, suggestive of a disconnection in the relationship between father and son. This frustration is further expressed in the hyperbole (insert quote) to convey the exaggerated feelings of disunity within this family setting. Spent years walking its perimeter From sunrise to sleep. Alert, brisk and silent,

16 The different perspectives and assumptions about our place in the world, and our sense of identity can often cause a dislocation between individuals who foster these divergent views. The composer elucidates this sense of bewilderment through enjambment (insert quote). The responder naturally lingers on this key word ‘existed’ and we gain a sense of the existential musings and confusion that abounds between father and son. The inquisitive, childlike tone questioning notions of his identity, and how his father seems to benignly struggle through life seem completely foreign and alien to the composer. This further accentuates the generational devisions that exist when acclimatising within a new physical and social environment. I often wondered how he existed

17 The different perspectives and assumptions about our place in the world, and our sense of identity can often cause a dislocation between individuals who foster these divergent views. The composer elucidates this sense of bewilderment through enjambment (insert quote). The responder naturally lingers on this key word ‘existed’ and we gain a sense of the existential musings and confusion that abounds between father and son. The inquisitive, childlike tone questioning notions of his identity, and how his father seems to benignly struggle through life seem completely foreign and alien to the composer. This further accentuates the generational devisions that exist when acclimatising within a new physical and social environment. I often wondered how he existed

18 How different groups affiliate and form their collective identity may seem peculiar to those not directly part of the coterie. They form traditions and shared practices that are completely foreign to those on the the outside. The composer conveys this feeling through the paradox (insert quote). The collision of the handshake, a symbol of camaraderie, and the incongruous description of it’s violence, perplexes the composer as he struggles to decode these strange interactions between his elders. This generational split leads to feelings of alienation and an emotional chasm between father and son, at a time when both are trying to find their sense of belonging within Australia. Always shook hands too violently

19 How different groups affiliate and form their collective identity may seem peculiar to those not directly part of the coterie. They form traditions and shared practices that are completely foreign to those on the the outside. The composer conveys this feeling through the paradox (insert quote). The collision of the handshake, a symbol of camaraderie, and the incongruous description of it’s violence, perplexes the composer as he struggles to decode these strange interactions between his elders. This generational split leads to feelings of alienation and an emotional chasm between father and son, at a time when both are trying to find their sense of belonging within Australia. Always shook hands too violently

20 When an individual finds themself in a nonnative environment, they may mentally regress to a place of sanctuary. Feliks Skrzynecki reminiscing with his old friends allows this group to transcend the physical barriers of their current milieu to return to their homeland. The simple, bucolic imagery in (insert quote) represents their uncomplicated lives and sense of belonging to their homeland. The symbols ‘corn’ and ‘wheat’, simple, staple food, further demonstrate the oneness Feliks and his friends have to this natural environment - and provides a barrier from assimilating to life in Australia in the same way the Peter has embraced. About farms where paddocks flowered With corn and wheat,

21 When an individual finds themself in a nonnative environment, they may mentally regress to a place of sanctuary. Feliks Skrzynecki reminiscing with his old friends allows this group to transcend the physical barriers of their current milieu to return to their homeland. The simple, bucolic imagery in (insert quote) represents their uncomplicated lives and sense of belonging to their homeland. The symbols ‘corn’ and ‘wheat’, simple, staple food, further demonstrate the oneness Feliks and his friends have to this natural environment - and provides a barrier from assimilating to life in Australia in the same way the Peter has embraced. About farms where paddocks flowered With corn and wheat,

22 In an ever changing, contemporary world the desire to be more and more connected through different spheres of our lives is endemic. Young people are more connected than ever, and this may be at odds with a generation of their forebears who appreciated simple gifts during the World Wars, such as food, shelter and life itself. This paean is in homage to Feliks Skrzynecki, and the short, simplistic declarative syntax (insert quote) encapsulates the totality of his character. In the face of adversity, cancer and Nazi concentration camps his own sense of identity and self efficacy has been unshaken. This is heavily contrast to the composer who is searching through the recesses of his own experiences and relationships to unveil who he is and his place in the world. ‘but I’m alive’

23 In an ever changing, contemporary world the desire to be more and more connected through different spheres of our lives is endemic. Young people are more connected than ever, and this may be at odds with a generation of their forebears who appreciated simple gifts during the World Wars, such as food, shelter and life itself. This paean is in homage to Feliks Skrzynecki, and the short, simplistic declarative syntax (insert quote) encapsulates the totality of his character. In the face of adversity, cancer and Nazi concentration camps his own sense of identity and self efficacy has been unshaken. This is heavily contrasted to the composer who is searching through the recesses of his own experiences and relationships to unveil who he is and to find his place in the world. ‘but I’m alive’

24 Growing older, I Remember words he taught me,

25 golden cypress

26 Caesar’s Gallic War, Hadrian’s Wall.


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