Ten“10 Mary Street” by Peter Skrzynecki and “Neighbours” by Tim Winton both contain elements that contribute to a sense of belonging. In “10 Mary Street”, their connection to their house is established through the nurturing of their garden. A simile is used “tended roses and camellias like adopted children” to emphasise this strong connection to their garden and their immense care towards it. Peter gains joy and fulfilment from his garden and this enables his attachment to his home to grow.
The personification of the house with its “china blue coat” gives a sense of security and warmth to the house, highlighting its significance in terms of their belonging. In the forth stanza, it is evident that the family has established connections with people of similar cultural background, where a sense of familiarity is provided. They have a strong connection with their past and through the use of listing, Peter demonstrates the various memories and common values that they share.
The “embracing gestures” evokes a sense of comfort and reassurance with this particular community. This reveals the strong connection that the family has with their house. “Neighbours” by Peter Skrzynecki presents us with the idea that common interests can bring people together. In the beginning, the newlyweds move into a new environment and experience a cultural barrier. The simile “it made the newly-weds feel like sojourners in a foreign land” indicates that they are outsiders and do not yet have a sense of belonging.
This is reinforced through the short sentence structure “the street was full of European migrants” which demonstrates how they know little about their neighbours and have no connection established. This is similar to “10 Mary Street”, where a cultural barrier must also be overcome in order to create a sense of belonging. However, after some time, the newlyweds begin to tolerate their neighbours’ behaviour and adjust to their new environment. The use of alliteration “big woman with black eyes and butchers arms gave her a bagful of garlic cloves to plant” indicate their growing friendship with their neighbours.
Listing is used to emphasise this new connection and understanding of their neighbour’s culture, “in the spring the Macedonian family showed them how to slaughter and to pluck and to dress”. Through these common interests they are able to establish friendships and no longer feel the cultural barrier. While “Neighbours” presents the idea that a connection to the community can bring a sense of belonging, “10 Mary Street” differs, and no real sense of belonging is established.
The newlyweds are able to feel belonged due to their new connection with the community, as shown in the final paragraph, “On the Macedonian side of the fence, a small queue of bleary faces looked up, cheering, and the young man began to weep”. Through this emotive language, it is evident that the newlyweds have established true connections with their neighbours, as the neighbours are eagerly waiting to show their support and care towards the newlywed’s new family member. The verbs used, “cooked dinners for his wife” and “listened to her stories” indicate their increased comfort and ease in this new lifestyle.
In contrast to this, “10 Mary Street” does not display any sense of belonging to their new country. In the forth stanza, it is clear that the family has remained in their comfort zone, with strong connections held with their past lifestyle, rather than their new one. Through the listing of various memories and common values held with their old culture, it is demonstrated that they have not yet created a connection with their new country. In the final stanza, the family is described as being “inheritors of a key that’ll open no house when this one is pulled down”.
This can be seen as a representation of their inability to access the broader society, despite having their strong connection to their house. Diverse ideas are presented in the texts and convey different aspects of belonging. In both texts “10 Mary Street” and “Neighbours”, different elements are presented to us in order to establish their sense of belonging. “Neighbours” explores the element of finding common interests within their community to establish a connection, while “10 Mary Street” finds this connection through their strong bond with their home and garden.