Themes and message
Belonging and identity
The short story “My Polish Teacher’s Tie” by Helen Dunmore focuses on the theme of belonging and identity. This theme is illustrated by Carla Carter, the main character.
Carla is half Polish and feels the need to connect to her roots. She remembers very little about her Polish origins, as her British father did not allow her to speak Polish when she was a child. Consequently, when she hears about the opportunity of corresponding with a Polish teacher, Carla sees it as a chance to find her national identity. In her letters to Steve, Carla constantly looks for a connection with Poland and finds it in the poems Steve sends her (p. 102, ll. 21-23).
Carla eventually finds her sense of belonging when she meets Steve face to face...