2 BiographyPeter Skrzynecki (pronounced sher- neski was born 1945, Germany)Polish/Ukrainian backgroundEmigrated to Australia in 1949 with his parents.After a four-week sea journey on the "General Blatchford" the family arrived in Sydney on 11 November.Lived in a migrant camp in Bathurst for two weeks before being moved on to the Parkes Migrant Centre, a former Air Force Training Base. It is this camp, in central-western New South Wales, that the poet regards as his first home in Australia.WWII destructionMigrant ship, the ‘General Blatchford’
3 1951 the family moved to Sydney, to the working-class suburb of Regents Park,where a home had been purchasedat 10 Mary Street.Feliks Skrzynecki worked as a labourerfor the Water Board and Kornelia as adomestic for a number of families in Strathfield. The parents worked hard and had the house paid off in four years.They grew their own vegetables and had a magnificent flower garden.Peter attended St Patrick's College, Strathfield, where he completed his Leaving Certificate in 1963.After an unsuccessful year at Sydney University in 1964, he completed a Primary Teacher Training Course at Sydney Teachers' College inIn 1968 he had recommenced his university studies as an external student and has a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and a Master of Letters.
4 Surprisingly, the poems that focus on family and the poems that observe people, primarily, stand out in this book, rather than specific accounts of the immigrant experience, although this theme is rarely absent from his work.From 1967 to 1987 Peter Skrzynecki taught in various primary public schools in the western suburbs of Sydney, in the inner-west and the south-westWhile at Sydney University, Peter Skrzynecki began writing poetry and was introduced to the work of such modern writers as Dylan Thomas, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, W.B.Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wilfred Owen and D.H. Lawrence.He had his first poems published professionally in Poetry Magazine in 1967 and again in His work began to appear in the Weekend Australian, the ABC began broadcasting his poems on its "Poet's Tongue" programme and his work was included in the Australian Poetry 1969 anthology,Skrzynecki's first books, There, Behind the Lids and Headwaters, were published in 1970 and 1972 respectivelyThese two collections, for the most, were concerned with the poet's experiences during the three years he taught in the country. They were reflective or meditative poems that dealt with the natural world, with the countryside, its people, its fauna and flora.
5 In 1975, Immigrant Chronicle is published. Traces of themes from the two earlier books.For the first time the poet writes about his European background, his experiences as a migrant in Australia, the problems associated with being an exile, with his parents' dispossession and the difficulties, such as racism, bigotry and resettlement, encountered by them and other immigrants in trying to assimilate to a new life in a new land.Skrzynecki mainly writes three kinds of poems, all in a similarly distinctive, almost prosaic style:the family poem, in which he often displays a deft ability to portray character through descriptionthe immigrant experience, which ranges between the new and old worlds and often has a documentary qualityand the landscape poem, which is often idyllic, with a poetic persona not that dissimilar to a Wordsworthian boy wandering and meditating in a garden or countryside.
6 Postscript Feliks Skrzynecki died in June, 1994. He was 89. Kornelia (Woloszczuk) died in February, She was 79.The house at 10 Mary Street, Regents Park, was sold later that year.
7 TodayPeter Skrzynecki is that rare thing in Australia: a poet with a substantial readership.Sales of his autobiographical collection Immigrant Chronicle (1975) exceed 20,000 copies according to his website, although many of these would be due to his good fortune at having had this volume included on the HSC list for many years.Peter Skrzynecki is married to Kate and has three children, Judith, Andrew and Anna.
8 Kept pace only with the Joneses Of his own mind’s making – Feliks SkrzyneckiMy gentle fatherKept pace only with the JonesesOf his own mind’s making –Loved his garden like an only child,Spent years walking its perimeterFrom sunrise to sleep.Alert, brisk and silent,He swept its pathsTen times around the world.Hands darkenedFrom cement, fingers with cracksLike the sods he broke,I often wondered how he existedOn five or six hours’ sleep each night –Why his arms didn’t fall offFrom the soil he turnedAnd tobacco he rolled.EmotivelanguageCliché used to show his father living up to high standardsSimile shows love of garden. Tone is humouroushyperboleDescriptive language. Simile usedHyperbole and humour used
9 The poet can not relate to his polish heritage His Polish friendsAlways shook hands too violently,I thought… Feliks Skrzynecki,That formal addressI never got used to.Talking, they reminiscedAbout farms where paddocks floweredWith corn and wheat,Horses they bred, pigsThey were skilled in slaughtering.Five years of forced labour in GermanyDid not dull the softness of his blue eyesI never once heardHim complain of work, the weatherOr pain. When twiceThey dug cancer out of his foot,His comment was: ‘but I’m alive’.The poet’s father is nostalgic about his past. Such skills are of no use in his current life. His fellow countrymen make him feel a sense of belonging.A historical allusion is used to show the trauma his father went through. Despite this difficult time is father is not hardened. Visual and descriptive language is usedThe poet’s admiration for the stoic nature of his father is shown. This brave quotation provides clear evidence of how brave he isPersonal pronouns are used to reinforce the personal nature of this poem
10 The poet’s father has a level of contentment that the poet envies Most of his knowledge of the Polish language is gone yet he has inherited parts of his cultural without realising it.Personal pronounGrowing older, IRemember words he taught me,Remnants of a languageI inherited unknowingly –The curse that damnedA crew-cut, grey-hairedDepartment clerkWho asked me in dancing-bear grunts:‘Did your father ever attempt to learn English?’On the back steps of his house,Bordered by golden cypress,Lawns – geraniums youngerThan both parents,My father sits out the eveningWith his dog, smoking,Watching stars and street lights come on,Happy as I have never been.The quotation shos the ignorance that exists in society and the struggle associated with belonging. It also shows the poet’s respect for his fatherThe poet’s father has a level of contentment that the poet envies
11 Stumbling over tenses in Caesar’s Gallic War, As the poet learns a new language he loses his grasp of the polish languageAt 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 tentsFurther and further south of Hadrian’s Wall.Feliks struggles to help his son retain his cultureHadrian’s Wall is a dividing wall in England. The tent represents the immigration of the familyBiblical/religious allusion
12 Feliks SkrzyneckiReflective poem on a father deeply loved and respected and the changing relationship they sharedConflict is generated between the two as a result of the persona further becoming further embedded in Australian culture.Information on Feliks is provided by the poet’s memory and reminiscences. The impact on Feliks’ experiences is as a strong for the son as it is for the father.The persona recognises in maturity that his father understood the gap that existed between themFeliks felt that his son would come to comprehend the value of his Polish heritage despite his initial dislocation from it
13 Feliks SkrzyneckiStanza 1…explain Peter’s p.o.v of his father, the garden and himself, include positives and negatives and how his understanding developed and changed over time.Stanza 3…through the use of imagery, peter depicts a world that intrigued him but alienated him at the same time. Explain how and why this is a passage of time that he will never belong to…Connections through relationships can develop over time. Explain how this aspect has been explored through the poem.
15 Kept pace only with the Joneses Of his own mind’s making – 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,’ suggesting his father is ignoring the social pressures of conformity, exemplified in the idiomatic statement‘kept pace only with the Joneses…’ His determination to find his own sense of self is reinforced through the alliterative ‘minds 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.
16 I often wondered how he existed 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 “I often wondered how he existed…” 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 divisions that exist when acclimatising within a new physical and social environment.
17 Always shook hands too violently How different groups affiliate and form their collective identity varies. It is these associations that can enrich an individual’s life and create a sense of belonging. These traditions and shared practices may be completely foreign to those on the outside. The composer conveys this feeling through the paradox “Always shook hands too violently”. 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.
18 About farms where paddocks flowered With corn and wheat, When an individual finds themself in a new, adoptive 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 imagery in “About farms where paddocks flowered,With corn and wheat”, 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.
19 ‘but I’m alive’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. The inclusion of dialogue by Feliks Skrzynecki comes in the form of a short, simplistic declaration “but I’m alive”, which encapsulates the resilience 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 his place in the world.
20 Feliks Skrzynecki My Gentle Father Kept pace only with the Joneses Personal Pronoun and familial personal descriptive ‘gentle.’ suggests affection.My Gentle FatherKept pace only with the JonesesOf his own mind’s making –Loved his garden like an only child,Spent years walking its perimeterFrom sunrise to sleep.Alert, brisk and silent,He swept its pathsTen times around the world.Joneses/SocietyFree from stigmaSimile/hyperboleSibilanceSibilanceThe use of hyperbole at the end of stanza one links to Immigrant Experience.
21 Feliks SkrzyneckiVivid memories of a father from the perspective of an awed child.Hands darkened From cement, fingers with cracks Like the sods he broke, I 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.SimilePersonal PronounReminder that the immigrant experience is one of first and second generation.HyperboleThere is the strong suggestion of a cultural and generational divide.Task: Find an example of a text with an immigrant experience that mirrors this one. You should find something to show the difference and dissonance between first and second generations.
22 Feliks SkrzyneckiCultural ExclusivityHis 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.Ellipsis to create stream of consciousnessGenerational AlienationHistorical ContextLink to ‘Gentle.’Note: the use of enjambment throughout the poem. Suggest the effect of the use of enjambment in lines 9-10.
23 Immediacy through speech Feliks SkrzyneckiI 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.”StoicismImmediacy through speechNote: The tone of admiration in this stanza. Where else do we see this tone of admiration. You may also notice that whilst there is the suggestion of respect and affection this leaves the persona excluded from the father’s experiences and in a way incidentally and accidentally alienated from the father’s world. Task: List all incidents like this in the text.
24 Feliks Skrzynecki Return of Personal pronoun 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?”Return of Personal pronounMemories and legacy – suggestion of loss and lament. Emotive alienation through ‘curse.’Satirical representation of an unwelcoming society. Bureaucracy is scorned here.Task: What is the effect of direct speech at the end of this stanza?
25 Cyclical return to home Feliks SkrzyneckiCyclical return to homeOn the back steps of his house, Bordered by 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.Note: the existence outside Australian society. Shunning of policy of assimilationTask: What does this last line connote about the conflict between the migrant experience of first and second generation migrants?
26 Feliks SkrzyneckiSchool education ‘kicks in’ and affects the ability to connect with his parents language.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.Feliks corrects the persona at first and then eventually concedes defeat.Hadrian’s Wall: This is a reference to the wall built on the English and Scottish border by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This is used as a metaphor by skrzynecki to suggest the alienation of the son from the father as he becomes more embroiled in the dominant culture and forgets his parent’s heritage.
27 QuestionsThere are emotions conveyed regarding the immigrant experience throughout this poem. How are they conveyed by the author to encompass both the experience of Feliks and his son?How does this experience convey a sense of the concept of ‘immigrant voices’?How does the use of non-native plants such as cyprus and geraniums metaphorically convey a sense of the migrant experience?
28 Migrant Hostel Parkes, 1949-51 For over two years We lived like birds of passage— Always sensing a change in the weather: Unaware of the season Whose track we would follow.A barrier at the main gate Sealed off the highway from our doorstep— As it rose and fell like a finger Pointed in reprimand or shame; And daily we passed Underneath or alongside it— Needing its sanction To pass in and out of lives That had only begun Or were dying.No one kept count Of all the comings and goings— Arrivals of newcomers In busloads from the station, Sudden departures from adjoining blocks That left us wondering Who would be coming next. Nationalities sought Each other out instinctively— Like a homing pigeon Circling to get its bearings; Years and name-places Recognised by accents, Partitioned off at night By memories of hunger and hate .Read, discuss for meaning, analyse
29 Trying to find a sense of belonging The title sets the scene. The date is just after the end of WWIIThe word migrant was used in the title and the sheer number of people moving through the hostel reinforces the instability. Hyperbole is usedMigrant Hostel.Parkes,No one kept countOf all the comings and goings –Arrivals of newcomersIn busloads from the station,Sudden departures from adjoining blocksThat left us wonderingWho would be coming next.Nationalities soughtEach other out instinctively –Like a homing pigeonCircling to get its bearings;Years and place-namesRecognised by accents,Partitioned off at nightBy memories of hunger and hate.The use of ‘us’ adds a personal note. The tone is uncertainTrying to find a sense of belongingThe simile is used to show the immigrants are uncertain and unsettled in their new country. The migrants are depicted as being temporarily lostHistorical allusion to war. May be a metaphor. Refers to conflicts from the past and also references the very real fear that would be felt.
30 Simile comparing the immigrants to birds is used again. The bird motif continues. The tone is emotive and reinforces instabilityFor over two yearsWe lived like birds of passage –Always sensing a changeIn the weather:Unaware of the seasonWhose track we would follow.A barrier at the main gateSealed off the highwayFrom our doorstep –As it rose and fell like a fingerPointed in reprimand or shame;And daily we passedUnderneath or alongside it –Needing its sanctionTo pass in and out of livesThat had only begunOr were dying.The boom gate is personified. This also serves as visual imagery. The language is emotiveEmotive language is used to make reference to the uncertainty and the fact that the immigrants old lifestyle is being left behind and being replaced with a new life in Australia.
31 Analysis of Migrant Hostel Composer: Peter SkrzyneckiSource: The Immigrant Chronicles, Parkes,Context:Migrant hostels, like the ones described in this poem, were old army camps with dormitory-style accommodation. Men and women were not housed together. The migrants Skrzynecki depicts in this poem are those who came to Australia after WWII at the invitation of the government.These migrants where segregated and isolated from the rest of the population even though they were actually invited to come to Australia. These immigrants where helping Australia to recover after the war but were treated appallingly.RELATE TO YOUR OWN micro/MACRO WORLD CONTEXT: Brainstorm how the context of the poem is still relevant today. Who migrates? Where do they go? How are they received?Key features/techniques:Four stanzas Imagery Irony Simile SymbolismMetaphorical motifs imprisonment and segregation/migratory birdsJuxtaposition hope is contrasted with fear
32 Migrant HostelThe persona reminisces about the two years his family spent at the Parkes hostel for newly arrived migrants.The immigrants are forced to spend this time in Parkes as a transition into Australian society.The poet conveys the immigrants’ sense of isolation and dislocation during this time.The promise of new life is not quickly realised and there is a sense of enforced imprisonment at the hands of an unsympathetic bureaucracy.
33 Some important concepts to remember: The inhabitants of the hostel come and go but no one seems to have control or to have achieved a place to belong.The immigrants continue to be haunted by their recent experiences that impact upon their ability to belong.The barrier at the main gate symbolises isolation from the outside world and acts as a barrier to belonging.The family question whether they will achieve belonging in their lives.The immigrants congregate in nationality groups to provide mutual support and to create a transitory sense of belonging.
34 Migrant Hostel – analysis continued QuotationTechniqueEffect and connection to IV‘No one kept count/of all the comings and goings-’Idiom , negative or neglected toneSuggests chaos and lack of administration‘Sudden departures.../That left us wondering’Chaotic, erratic and uncertain toneNo preparations made to assist the migrants to feel as if they belong. They were left without a voice‘Like a homing pigeon/circling to get bearings’Bird motif, simileThe migrants are trying to find something familiar‘We lived like birds of passage/Always sensing a change’Bird motif, reference to temporary migrant workers, simileSimile suggests they will be moving often.‘A barrier.../sealed off the highway’MetaphorSealed off from Australia and the chance to belong with society‘As it rose and fell like a finger/Pointed in reprimand or shame’Simile, accusatory toneFigurative language refers to negative treatment – invited to migrate.‘Needing its sanction/to pass in and out of lives/That had only begun/Or were dying’Sibilance, ironyPatronising bureaucracy that control their existence
35 Questions1. How does the first stanza create a sense of the instability and insecurity of the migrants? 2. Whose perspective is this poem from? How does this change the way that the migrants’ emotions are experienced? 3. Why would people from the same nationality seek “each other out instinctively”? What does this suggest about humans’ need for belonging? 4. What is the effect of the simile, “like a homing pigeon/ Circling to get its bearings”? 5. Even in a new country, groups separate themselves at night. What technique(s) are used to create a sense of their alienation from each other? 6. What is the effect of the simile, “like birds of passage”? What does it suggest about their existence and identity? 7. What did the barrier at the gate signal to the migrants about Australians’ acceptance of them? What is the effect of the simile, “rose and fell like a finger pointed in reprimand or shame”?
36 8. What are the connotations of the words “partitioned”, “barrier” and “sealed off”? What do these words suggest about the migrants’ sense of belonging? 9. What is the effect of the last two lines? What do these lines mean? 10. Comment on the migrants’ perceptions of the extent of their belonging in Australian society, and the barriers to their belonging
37 St Patrick’s College Of her employer’s sons, My last day thereMass was offered upFor our departing intentions,Our Lady still watchingAbove, unchanged by eight years’ weather.With closed eyesI fervently countedThe seventy-eight pagesOf my Venite Adoremus,Saw equations I never understoodRubbed off the blackboard,Voices at bus stops, litanies and hymnsTaking the right-hand turnOut of Edgar Street for good;Prayed that Mother would someday be pleasedWith what she got for her money –That the darkness around meWasn’t ‘for the best’Before I let my light shine.Impressed by the uniformsOf her employer’s sons,Mother enrolled me at St Pat’sWith never a thoughtTo fees and expenses – wanting only“What was best”.From the roofOf the secondary school blockOur Lady watchedWith outstretched arms,Her face overshadowed by cloudsMother crossed herselfAs she left me at the office –Said a prayerFor my future intentions.Under the principal’s windowI stuck pine needlesInto the mottoOn my breast:Luceat Lux VestraI thought was a brand of soap.For eight yearsI walked Strathfield’s paths and streets,Played chasings up and downThe station’s ten ramps –Caught the 414 busLike a foreign tourist,Uncertain of my destinationEvery time I got off.I carried the blue, black and goldI’d been privileged to wear:Learnt my conjugationsAnd Christian decorums for homework,Was never too bright at scienceBut good at spelling’Could say The Lord’s PrayerIn Latin, all in one breath.
38 Impressed by the uniforms Of her employer's sons, His mother’s reason for sending him seems superficial yet well intentioned.ColloquialSt Patrick’s CollegeImpressed by the uniformsOf her employer's sons,Mother enrolled me at St Pat’s,With never a thoughtTo fees and expenses ‐ wanting only“What was best”.From the roofOf the secondary school block.Our Lady watchedWith outstretched arms,Her face overshadowed by cloudsMother crossed herselfAs she left me at the office ‐Said a prayerFor my future intentions.Under the principal's windowI stuck pine needlesInto the mottoOn my breast:Luceat Lux VestraI thought was a brand of soap.Religious reference to Mary the mother of Christ. The shadow has negative connotationsReinforces his mother’s good intentions and hopes for his futureLet you light shine. This motto has no meaning to the poet at this pointShows immaturity and a lack of respect for the school crest
39 I walked Strathfield's paths and streets, Played chasings up and down He caught a bus & a train just to get to school. Irony is also used.For eight yearsI walked Strathfield's paths and streets,Played chasings up and downThe station's ten ramps ‐Caught the 414 bus"Like a foreign tourist”Uncertain of my destinationEvery time I got off.I carried the blue, black and goldI'd been privileged to wearLearnt my conjugationsAnd Christian decorums for homework,Was never too bright at scienceBut good at spelling;Could say The Lord's PrayerIn Latin, all in one breath.Simile shows that he never felt like he belongedRepetition of the timeThe tone is sarcasticHumour is used. The poet doesn’t feel like he has much to show from his time at the school
40 Everything seems to pass in a blur My last day thereMass was offered upFor our departing intentions,Our Lady still watchingAbove, unchanged by eight years weatherWith closed eyesI fervently counted‐The seventy‐eight pagesOf my Venite Adoremus,Saw equations I never understoodRubbed off the blackboard,Voices at bus stops, litanies and hymnsTaking the right‐hand turnOut of Edgar Street for good;Prayed that Mother would someday be pleasedWith what she'd got for her money ‐That the darkness around meWasn't "for the best"Before I let my light shineThis links back to the 1st satnza of the poem. Note that Mary remains unchangedEverything seems to pass in a blurThis also links to the previous stanza. The tone is quite dark. The school motto is mocked.
41 St Patrick’s CollegeThe College's crest was designed in 1938 and is made up of three components:The Shield: a symbol of strength and fortitude.The Motto: Those who wear the crest pledge fidelity to the College motto 'Luceat Lux Vestra', Latin for "Let Your Light Shine".The Star: the College lights the way toknowledge and to the Heavenly Father.The school has a strong sporting focus.Consider: What do school traditions,values and the motto ’Christ is my light”mean to you? How will you rememberyour school days?
42 St Patrick’s College Analysis A reflective appraisal – with the benefit of hindsight and experience.Overall tone is condemnatory, hints at institutional alienation rather than imbuing school spirit or inclusionNo reference to positive growth or learning.Catholicism referenced by statues, prayers, ethos and Mass but no real affinity inferred by such ‘decorums’.Large part of childhood spent there (repetition of 8 years) but no reference to period being enjoyable.Anonymity dominates – symbolises few meaningful connections poet has made.Overall perception is drudgery and uniformity – a penance to be endured.Conformity to strict educational codes has appeared to stultify poet’s individuality.Mother’s notion of ‘What was best’ was not ‘for the best’Note irony in last sentence –before I let my light shine
43 Impressed by the uniforms Of her employer's sons, His mother’s reason for sending him seems superficial yet well intentioned.ColloquialSt Patrick’s CollegeImpressed by the uniformsOf her employer's sons,Mother enrolled me at St Pat’s,With never a thoughtTo fees and expenses ‐ wanting only“What was best”.From the roofOf the secondary school block.Our Lady watchedWith outstretched arms,Her face overshadowed by cloudsMother crossed herselfAs she left me at the office ‐Said a prayerFor my future intentions.Under the principal's windowI stuck pine needlesInto the mottoOn my breast:Luceat Lux VestraI thought was a brand of soap.Religious reference to Mary the mother of Christ. The shadow has negative connotationsReinforces his mother’s good intentions and hopes for his futureLet you light shine. This motto has no meaning to the poet at this pointShows immaturity and a lack of respect for the school crest
44 St Patrick’s College analysis Quote Technique Effect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging‘impressed by the uniforms/Of her employer’s sons’Mother does not base her decision on tradition or belonging but a desire for betterment.‘with never a thought to fees and expenses’Desire to belong determining factor not money.‘-wanting only what was best’‘From the roof.../Our Lady watched...her face overshadowed by clouds’Ominous – as if statue suggests he will not be welcomed at this school.‘Mother crossed herself’‘I stuck pine needles/Into the motto’Poet’s disengagement with school or sense of rebelliousness“‘Luceat Lux Vestra’/I thought was a brand of soap”‘For eight years/I walked Strathfield’s paths and streetsTone suggests ritual and lacks any passion. Not belonging
45 St Patrick’s analysis continued... St Patrick’s College Analysis continued QuoteTechniqueEffect – how it relates to belonging/not belonging‘Like a foreign tourist/Uncertain of my destination.’‘For eight years/I carried the blue, black and gold’Assimilation into this school is a burden he must carry.‘I’d been privileged to wear’‘Could say the Lord’s Prayer/In Latin, all in one breathNo sense of connection to what he has learnt.‘Our Lady still watching.../With closed eyes’Poet is figuratively excluded by her ‘closed eyes’‘Out of Edgar street for good;’Relief at leaving place poet did not belong.‘Prayed that someday Mother would be pleased’Realises his mother has not achieved her aims.“The darkness around me/Wasn’t ‘for the best’”Darkness represents his sense of isolation and exclusion‘Before I let my light shine’He has succeeded in spite of schoolSt Patrick’s analysis continued...
46 Further Activities for St Patricks College: How has the poet achieved a sense of belonging and isolation?Use textual evidence to support your answer.What do the mother’s reasons for sending her son to St Patrick’s College suggest about her desire to assimilate?It is possible to fit in without belonging. Use this statement as the basis for an interview with Peter Skrzynecki. Write a transcript of this interview with specific reference to St Patrick’s College.