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10 Mary’s Street

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Belonging can often be referred to as an ubiquitous human experience that occurs when individuals share common beliefs. A sense of belonging is displayed once an individual becomes familiar with their surrounding environment, and develops a sense of place within relationships. Good afternoon Mrs Cross and fellow classmates, the theme of belonging often coerces with place, thus its appropriation with a connection to the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, dictating that a sense of belonging is the third most basic need of a human. The theme of place in regards to belonging is explored through the “Immigrant Chronicles”, specifically 10 Mary Street and Postcard.

Peter Skrzynecki clearly differentiates the perceptions of belonging and alienation through the varying places in which Skrzynecki forms a connection, comparable to 10 Mary’s Street, or conversely, he evolves a feeling of detachment which is highly evident in Postcard. Another vivid representation of this theme is Shaun Tan’s picture book, “The Red Tree” which expresses similar ideas on feelings of alienation and the slow difficult journey towards belonging. Consequently, each unique individual has the potential to enrich the community and foster a greater sense of belonging.

Initially, the first stanza of “10 Mary Street” establishes a sense of security and connection to place, exemplified through the repetitive daily routines reinforced through the use of a simile. “We departed each morning, shut the house like a well-oiled lock.” Skrynecki creates the idea that his comfort lays at ease, simply in their 19 year old family home. “Hid the key under a rusty bucket, to school and work over that still-too narrow bridge.” Perhaps, the bridge generates a weaker connection between home and work, where they feel a diminutive sense of detachment. The bridge symbolises the difficulties faced by the Skrzynecki’s in establishing a connection or transition into the community.

The second stanza of St Mary Street shows how the parents have a strong connection to the garden, exhibiting the sense of belonging to place. This is represented through cumulative listing that creates a good effect and emphasizes the strong relation to the garden. “My parents watered plants, grew potatoes, and rows of sweet corn, tendered roses and camellias like adopted children. Home from school earlier I’d ravage the backyard garden like a hungry bird.” These contrasting images reflect the different connections to place. The parents have great fulfillment in planting, nurturing and fostering the garden, whereas Skrzynecki, as a child enjoyed eating and taking the fruits of his parents labor. Essentially, as a child, he gave little thought to the significance of the garden, as noted in the verb choice of “ravaged” and in the simile of “hungry bird”. The use of hyperbole further exemplifies this as he ate too much, with little recognition of the taste of the food and the time in which it took to grow. The final stanza immediately



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