Belonging means different things to different people. The most common definition is feeling a sense of connectedness to a person, place or thing. Understanding nourishes belonging while a lack of understanding can prevent people from belonging. This is shown through Peter Skrzynecki’s poem ‘Migrant hostel’ which is about the challenges faced by travelers on their journey, and the hardships they have to overcome by exchanging their old world for the unfamiliar and unwelcoming new world in which they don’t understand anything. Skrzynecki’s poem ‘Feliks Skryznecki’ explores a relationship between father and son, and their contrasting experiences of belonging to a new place. The related text, ‘The Red Tree,’ by Shaun Tan also shows that a lack of understanding can prevent belonging, whereas increasing understanding can lead to a sense of knowing your place in the world and knowing where you belong.
Understanding nourishes belonging. This is shown in the poem ‘Migrant Hostel’ by Peter Skryznecki because the poet feels that he belongs to the group of migrants living together in the hostel and that he feels a connection to them because of shared experiences . He feels that they understand him. This is shown through the use of the personal pronoun ‘we’ and ‘us’. This shows that if a person understands what another person is going through or is feeling then a sense of belonging is created. However a lack of understanding that prevents belonging is shown through the migrants and how they are treated differently from mainstream society. Peter Skryznecki is commenting that the migrants were treated this way because mainstream society did not understand what the migrants had been through. Also the migrants don’t understand the way Australia works or the way of life and so we see how a lack of understanding can prevent belonging. In the poem, the migrants are kept separate from society. This is shown through the use of the simile “as it rose and fell like a finger” which...
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