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10 Mary Street Analysis

We will explore how Peter Skrzynecki's poem 10 Mary Street describes aspects of Belonging

Gabriella Hespe-Poulos

on 5 February 2013

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Transcript of 10 Mary Street Analysis

10 Mary Street For nineteen years
We departed
Each morning, shut the house
Like a well-oiled lock,
Hid the key
Under a rusty bucket:
To school and work –
Over that still too-narrow bridge,
Around the factory
That was always burning down. Back at 5p.m.
From the polite hum-drum
Of washing clothes
And laying sewerage pipes,
My parents watered
Plants – grew potatoes
And rows of sweet corn:
Tended roses and camellias
Like adopted children.
Home from school earlier
I’d ravage the backyard garden
Like a hungry bird –
Until, bursting at the seams
Of my little blue
St Patrick’s College cap,
I’d swear to stay off
Strawberries and peas forever. For nineteen years
We lived together –
Kept pre-war Europe alive
With photographs and letters,
Heated discussions
And embracing gestures:
Visitors that ate
Kielbasa, salt herrings
And rye bread, drank
Raw vodka or cherry brandy
And smoked like
A dozen Puffing Billies. The house stands
In its china-blue coat –
With paint guaranteed
For another ten years.
Lawns grow across
Dug-up beds of
Spinach, carrots and tomato.
(The whole block
Has been gazetted for industry). Naturalized more
Then a decade ago
We became citizens of the soil
That was feeding us –
Inheritors of a key
That’ll open no house
When this one is pulled down. Repetition indicates length of time they formed a connection to the house: permanence imagery of 'keys' throughout the poem- indicates ownership, and a unique sense of connection description/imagery indicates their deep knowledge of their home and their strong sense of ownership hyperbole: suggests that they established a sense of permanence and interest in their environment- neighbourhood knowledge Skrzynecki's parent's jobs simile suggests the active involvement of the parents in creating and caring for their space/ place of belonging simile/imagery of nourishment suggests that the house/environment plays a huge role in sustaining the family personification of the house reinforces how 'close' they feel to it: like it's a part of their family. 'Coat' is a pun: paint and protection, shelter. Did they paint the house- protect it for the future? Does this suggest that they have moved out and that someone has allowed the 'sustaining' veggie patch go away? If so, does this suggest that no one else understands the potential of the house? Or is his dad no longer able to care for it? brackets/understatement suggest that for others, the house doesn't mean much- this is a contrast to the Skrzyneckis' attitudes repetition indicates duration and the growth of their relationship to the house the 'list' of ways reinforces belonging as an active process: it needs physical documents as well as interactions between people to maintain a connection The list of traditional Eastern European 'foods' reinforces the idea of belonging as 'sustenance' (linking to the garden). Participating in culture in a physical way. steam trains- this simile/imagery indicates unity between the visitors: is their sense of belonging to their country old fashioned? visitors= houseproud they became citizens: had a citizenship ceremony personification of the soil suggests that the Skrzyneckis' earliest and most enduring sense of belonging came from living on the land: a physical thing rather than a document/ceremony symbol of the key ambiguous- does it refer to the intangible citizenship ceremony? Does it suggest this will be their only true place of belonging (since a key is unique)? 'When' is certain adverb- indicates change is inevitable Belonging is an active process: building a sense of connection through repeated actions

Belonging provides 'nourishment'- developing new connections and keeping old connections alive

People develop unique connections and affinities with places. Therefore, belonging is an individualised process- people may not be able to feel the same sense of connection as you.

Belonging is inevitably shifting and changing; it can never be maintained.
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