Belonging Essay

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The conceptual understanding of belonging forms as an innate desire of the human condition. It enables a sense of security, safety and a psychological semblance of comfort amongst individuals and thus forms as a quintessential aspect of social life. The repercussions of an unfulfilled sense of belonging stimulates the notion of spatial alienation which coherently perpetuates a deep rooted sense of estrangement and isolation, concepts which are heavily articulated within Skrzynecki’s poem Migrant Hostel, and 10 Marry Street. Congruently, both texts explore the aforementioned understanding of belonging in a personal voice through the textually dynamic medium of poetry.

Migrant hostel, is a moving account of the experiences of migrants living in an overly-crowded hostel, it depicts the strain and sense of imprisonment in the new Country that awaits immigrants beyond the hostel.

Throughout the entirety of the poem Skrynzecki dwells upon the thematic premises of displacement as a means to justify the individual’s sense of uncertainty and isolation which plagues the concerns of the poem. In the opening stanza of MH , Skrzynecki encapsulates the transient status of the immigrants who stay at the hostel “comings and going”, “arrivals of newcomers” and “sudden departures” as a means to juxtapose the temporary nature with the psychological stigmas associated with an immigrants plight, notably instability which is detrimental to ones sense of belonging.

The composer employs a plethora of negative emotions as a means to reinforce the personal experience of Skrynzecki during his stay at MH which develops a personal voice by which responders are able to gain an insight into the most basis of human desires: the necessity of belonging. Consistently throughout the poem, feelings of fear, confusion, alienation and isolation all add to a foreboding and animalistic atmosphere. Racial tension is also prevalent as nationalities divide and issues of superiority and stereotyping complicate the social landscape.

Throughout MH there are a number of language techniques utilised by Skrynzecki which reinforces the aspects of belonging. For instance, Skrzynecki has employed binary opposition at “to pass in and out of lives that had only begun or were dying” concluding the poem. This contrast of young and old generation reveals another means of differentiation of migrants staying at the hostel, age. It also provides two opposing ideologies regarding age: the young have potential and possibility as their lives have “only [just] begun” while the elderly are ending the lives, “dying” and are no longer valuable within society.

Effectively, this forms as an introspective reflection into the problematic design of psychosocial values as a deterrent to the “individual capacity to belong” throughout the textual vehicle of the “migrant symbol”. Through the semantic undertones of ageism, the didacticism of the poem becomes apparent, that being a person’s identity plays a crucial role regarding to belonging and age can ultimately determine whether or not a person belongs, a condition forged by the psychosocial mechanics of a society based upon generalities and xenophobia.

In MH, Skrzynecki has used the ‘Bird Imagery’ to highlight the migrant’s lack of stability in lives and the impermanence of their situation through an emphatic tone. The image of bird contains an emphasising tone in which the migrating flock has been simulated to the group of migrants vamoosing from a place to another depending on their need while having no other options. The association of migrants and birds suggest the natural human drive to seek out the familiar home safety and natural rhythm of life. The juxtaposition of the images of bird implying sense of freedom, and the constrained migrants express the powerlessness in being in the state of limbo, where they neither belong to their past or to their future.

Overall the Migrant...
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