10 Mary Street Short Analysis

10 Mary Street is a poem by Peter Skrzynecki, appearing in Migrant Chronicle. The poem discusses family, connection to place and the impacts of Peter’s own migrant experience. Skrzynecki details richly impassioned recounts told in snippets of symbolism, imagery and throwbacks to the pre-war European environment Skrzynecki’s family belonged in. * The first stanza depicts the habitual routine of Skrzynecki’s family, as indicated by the use of the phrase “Each morning” in the third line. This helps evoke a clear sense of normal practice and routine in the lives of the Skrzynecki family.

Additionally through the use of industrial imagery; “rusty bucket”, “bridge”, “factory” the audience can see a sense of comfort and connection to their humble surrounds. * The second stanza presents the strong connection that Peter’s parents share with their garden. But while Skrzynecki’s parents take fulfilment in nurturing and fostering the garden (Tended roses and camellias/ Like adopted children), Skrzynecki himself didn’t hold the same values as his parents (I’d ravage the backyard garden/ Like a hungry bird).

This contrasting use of simile accurately depicts the sort of cultural background Skrzynecki feels he doesn’t belong to. * The third stanza discusses the connection to the 10 Mary Street address that his family holds. The use of personification in the first line; “The house stands” highlights the human value of the house and establishes a strong sense of belonging to the house. Additionally, the use of Cumulative listing lines in 13-17 helps to reinforce the family’s strong connection to their European heritage. The final stanza presents a contrasting view of belonging whereby Peter feels his family “became citizens of the soil/ That was feeding us” and indicates a sense of comfort and acceptance of the Australian way of life. The last 3 lines: “Inheritors of a key/ That’ll open no house/ When this one is pulled down.” Re-establishes what the house symbolized for them and the notion that the sort of connection 10 Mary Street had to their new lives in Australia will be a challenge to recreate.

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