We are all torn between wanting to stand apart and wanting to fit in. How is this conflict explored in 2 poems and one text? (800 words) An Amerian psychiatrist, William Glasser, once said: “We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun. ” As humans, the impulse to search for acceptance is present in our nature; however we are also driven by our desire to be unique.
It is this conflict between wanting to stand apart and wanting to fit in that shapes our identities, and distinguishes us as a distinct species in the world.These ideas of acceptance and alienation are explored in the poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Postcard, and Randa Abedel-Fattah’s feature article Prejudice is alive and well in the legal profession. Feliks Skrzynecki offers its readers an insight into the life of a man who chooses self-satisfaction over social acceptance while also reflecting the poet’s exclusion. Skryznecki establishes the filial bond between Feliks and himself in the opening of the poem. He uses a personal pronoun in “My gentle father” to show his love and respect for this father figure.Despite the close relationship between father and son, their outlooks on life remain very different. Feliks has experienced many hardships in his life but continues to be optimistic- “Five years of forced labour in Germany did not dull the softness of his blue eyes.
” The poet creates an image of a strong, resilient man who is not bitter about his experiences and further enforces this idea by saying “I never once heard him complain of work, the weather or pain. ” Feliks’ past allows him to be satisfied with very little, hence he does not strive to fit in.Instead he is a self sufficient man who is content in keeping pace “only with the Joneses of his own mind’s making. ” Long vowel sounds in “loved his garden like an only child” slows the rhythm and is paired with sharp, short sounds in “Alert, brisk and silent” to develop Feliks’ independent image. The poet further employs hyperbole in “He swept its paths ten times around the world” to suggest Feliks’ devotion to this life that he has created for himself. On the other hand, the poet is comfortable in the society they live in, but ironically feels distanced from his father’s world.This is seen in his inability to comprehend Feliks’ simple life.
“My father sits out the evening with his dog, smoking, watching stars and street lights come on, happy as I have never been. ” The present continuous tense and gentle ‘w’ and ‘s’ sounds soften the tone and create a pleasant, nostalgic mood. As he comments on “that formal address I never got used to”, the poet notes the differences of Feliks’ world and the sense of detachment in their relationship this leads to. The poet’s regretful tone in the last stanza suggests his wish to belong in his father’s world. Like a dumb prophet, watched me pegging my tents further and further south of Hadrian’s Wall. ” Skrzynecki’s reference to Hadrian’s Wall illustrates the barrier and distance between them that seems to be growing. Both Feliks Skrzynecki and the poet face an inner struggle between their present and past which in effect is a choice of whether or not to belong.
Peter Skrzynecki’s Post card furthers the ideas from Feliks Skrzynecki in its exploration of the difficulties he encounters by attempting to reject his heritage and fit into his present community.The idea of conflict is introduced immediately by the postcard that “haunts me. ” The use of such a strong verb accentuates his response to this postcard as it differs from the typical feelings of excitement and happiness associated with a postcard. Skrzynecki’s bland, generic description of “Red buses on a bridge…High-rise flats and something…” mirrors his unemotional response to the picture- a stark contrast to his parents who would be proud or speak of their beloved homeland. As in Feliks Skrzynecki, the poet once again emphasises his parents and himself as products of different cultures.The poem is a reflection of the confusion in his mind: he appears indifferent yet he cannot deny the connection he seems to share with the city. The poet personifies the city to demonstrate its importance to its people.
Although it has been destroyed and massacred, it remains unchanged and lives on in the memories of the Polish migrants, having “survived in the minds of a dying generation half a world away. ” This concept is also portrayed with Feliks and his friends in Feliks Skrzynecki.Peter Skrzynecki does not have these associations with the city and hence chooses to reject it, as seen when he directly addresses it “For the moment, I repeat, I never knew you, let me be. ” The use of imperatives implies the hold that this city and his heritage have on him. Skrzynecki acknowledges the superficial emotions he feels “I can give you the recognition of eyesight and praise”, but conveys his insecurity by rhetorically questioning “What more do you want besides the gift of despair? ” Evidently, Skrzynecki is disorientated and unsure of where he fits in.Although not explicitly expressed, the city takes on the persona of a temptress to hint at the unbreakable relationship between the poet and his heritage. This is presented by the confident assertion that “We will meet before you die.
” Postcard explores the notion that sometimes it is not by choice that we fit in or stand apart, but rather our heritage that defines our identity. Randa Abdel-Fattah shows that the conflict between standing apart and fitting in also exists for women battling the constraints of gender and cultural discrimination.Her title Prejudice is alive and well in the legal profession is sarcastically informative, but also slightly annoyed in order to clearly display her stand in this case. The words ‘alive and well’ connote that not only does prejudice exist, it is flourishing and perhaps even increasing. Like Skrzynecki, the theme of cultural belonging is central to Abdel-Fattah’s argument. Muslim women who wear the hijab as a symbol of their cultural identity are marginalised in Western society- they want to fit in but also hope to be identified by their culture. “Intelligent, dynamic, capable lawyer one minute.
Oppressed, passive dimwit the next. ” Cynicism is used to convey the author’s disapproval and comments on the superficial nature of society in stereotyping. By opening with an anecdote concerning her friend, the author effectively structures her article to move from the specific to the general and simultaneously adds authenticity to support her opinion. As the article progresses, the tone becomes more sombre and reveals the severity of this issue. The author achieves this by using more sophisticated language. Randa Abdel-Fattah discusses how society can play a part in a person’s fight to balance conformity and distinction.Feliks Skrzynecki, Post card and Prejudice is alive and well in the legal profession all explore the concept of the basic human need to belong but also be noticed.
Says Eric Fromm, “Man may be defined as the animal that can say ‘I’, that can be aware of himself as a separate entity. ” This idea is apparent in the above texts as each subject strives to distinguish themselves from the norm, yet this struggle is often hindered by their longing for companionship. We are all torn between wanting to stand apart and wanting to fit in. In the end, it is how we choose to balance them that mould us as distinct people.
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For this discussion topic, I want you to do a little research on two alternative views of the “Founding Fathers” and the U.S. Constitution: those of Charles Beard, an early 20th century American historian, and those of William Lloyd Garrison, a prominent antebellum abolitionist. Give a brief description of each of their views and why you either agree or disagree.
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