Immigrant Chronicle Belonging Essay

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“How have the composers of the texts you have studied present a perspective on the significance of belonging or not belonging?”

Belonging is undeniably a significant and innate part of human nature, offering one senses of identity, security and affiliation. Peter Skrzynecki’s anthology of poems Immigrant Chronicle epitomises the struggles associated with migration, demonstrating that to belong requires an understanding and recognition of one’s identity. It is also essential to establish relationships with people and places, as shown by Jutta Malnic’s representation of anecdotes in Born Again. Although the duality of belonging encompasses the reverse, as a lack of identity, security and affinity leads to an ephemeral state of belonging, resulting in despair and isolation.

Skrzynecki and Malnic mutually explore belonging as an innate aspect of human nature, represented by the lack of affiliation one experiences within society. “10 Mary Street” initially establishes a sense of purpose and security in the family’s domestic routine through the inclusive first person pronoun “we departed” complemented with the simile “like a well oiled lock”. However, the images of the factory “always burning down” and the “all too narrow bridge” subvert this representation of social cohesiveness, by highlighting its transitory nature and inaccessibility. Additionally, the cynical tone established through the personification “citizens of the soil” illustrates their affinity to the “soil” but not society, denoting that this connection is void of any cultural undercurrents. These images compound to depict the migrant’s isolation from society and elicit pathos and empathy from compassionate responders.

Malnic resembles belonging as inherent and significant to human nature by searching for affinity and identity within society. In Born Again, the initial description of Berlin alludes notions of isolation through the olfactory imagery “it stank, it was...
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