HSC STANDARD ENGLISH
Skrzynecki, Peter – The Immigrant Chronicle
“Belonging is essential for human fulfillment”
When somebody belongs they usually feel accepted and comfortable, yet when somebody does not belong, feelings of detachment and disorientation can be seen, so surely belonging is essential for human fulfillment. Peter Skrzynecki’s poems Migrant Hostel and Postcard show the fulfillment of belonging but mainly of not belonging, being disoriented and detached from the society in which Skrzynecki and his family lives.
Skrzynecki’s poem Migrant Hostel deals with his family’s migration to Australia, living in a migrant hostel and struggling to adjust to a new cultural environment with all the physical, personal, social and economic changes migrants usually go through. These changes can strip people of their belonging to a society and a need for human companionship usually from people with familiar families is necessary to reassert social identity in that new cultural environment and fulfill ones human needs.
Skrzynecki uses a simile in stanza two “like a homing pigeon” which allows the audience to understand this need for what was familiar, the need to belong as there is that instability in the hostel. Because of the Polish heritage of Skrzynecki’s parents the only way to feel they belonged in the migrant hostel and in society in general was to take comfort in shared experiences “Years and place-names/Recognised by accents”.
The simile “like birds of passage” in the third stanza echoes the simile in stanza two so again we see the need for belonging to create this sense of human fulfillment and familiarity.
Skrzynecki uses a simile again in stanza four “rose and fell like a finger/pointed in reprimand or shame” for the “barrier at the main gate” and so is also personified, through this simile it suggests a feeling of blame and imprisonment in a literal and figurative way. This...
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