Compare Migrant Hostel and 10 Mary Street

Topics: Immigration, Poetry, Australia Pages: 2 (658 words) Published: February 17, 2012
Compare and contrast the two poems, “Migrant Hostel” and “10 Mary Street” As the hundreds and thousands of migrants arrived into Australia to start their new lives in their new homes, most of them experienced the difficulties of belonging while torn between two places. Peter Skrzynecki, poet of the Immigrant Chronicle wrote the poems “Migrant Hostel” and “10 Mary Street”, which explores his own feelings of belonging, place and alienation as he recounts his migration from Germany to Australia. However, each poem is a recollection from two different experiences of his lifetime. “Migrant Hostel” describes richly the very early and hostile stages of the migrant journey, and is mostly associated with the feelings isolation and desolation as the migrants were confronted with the government’s systematic approach of accommodation known as ‘hostels’. In the very first stanza, Skrzynecki, through imagery, puts emphasis on the large numbers of refugees arriving from Europe “Arrivals of newcomers/ in busloads from the station/ sudden departures from adjoining blocks”. It shows the migrants lack of belonging, where they have no control over their fate. The next stanza is juxtaposing two opposing ideas, the mention of “nationalities” shows some sense of belonging, however this idea is replaced by the quote “partitioned off at night”, conveying that the migrants are finding it difficult to let go off their own ways. The quotes “like a homecoming pigeon” and “we lived like birds of passage” emphasises the temporariness of their existence here, like the temporariness of migrating birds waiting for the changes in season to fly away. Unlike birds, however, they are “unaware of the season” and are completely confused by their situation. In the concluding stanza, images of separation and isolation are repeated, “A barrier at the main gate/ sealed off the highway”, the “gate” symbolising their journey of belonging being closed to them, separating them from the rest of the world. The...
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