The concept of belonging is essential in our lives as it brings about acceptance and connection to a person, group or place. Migrants often experience alienation and exclusion before experiencing acceptance and belonging into the new society. Peter skrzynecki portrays migration as a painful, soul searching experience, re forging a sense of personal and cultural identity which is evident in Migrant hostel. On the contrary Peter displays a perspective were the family feels stability and security at their address 10 Mary Street.
The journey to belong often proves to be a great burden; the lack of social stability generates a sense of loss and insecurity leaving migrants struggling to adjust to their new cultural environment. This is established in the first stanza of Migrant hostel through the choice of words such as “sudden/wondering”, which illustrates uncertainty and doubtfulness of what is occurring around them, therefore living erratic and uncertain lives. The idea of not being in control of their lives is further emphasized in the first stanza with the use of the simile “we lived like birds of passage”, this creates a image of migratory birds and represents how the migrants are at a point of transaction in reality. Peter creates a picture of confinement and imprisonment via the symbol of a barrier “A barrier at the main gate”, represents obstacles to their dream of belonging and exclusion from mainstream Australia. The Migrants are shown as being powerless and their lives have been marked by disorientation, “unaware of the season/whose track we would follow”, highlights the whole migrant communities uncertainty as “we” is inclusive of all migrants and shows that all migrants experience similar hardship. The irony of the concluding lines “that had only begun or were dying”, accentuates the burden of uncertainty in their lives instead of surviving in their new homeland and experience a new sense of belonging their lives remain in limbo....
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