Immigrant Chronicles and Freedom Writer

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To belong is to feel as though you are a part of something. Belonging or sense of belonging can be individually, within a group, community, society or the larger world. This sense of belonging can be earned through our family, friends, likes and dislikes and backgrounds. Belonging to a group can operate both positively and negatively in our quest to define ourselves. In belonging to a group we satisfy our needs for belonging, acceptance and approval however in order to maintain our position in the group we often have to put individual needs second and put the needs of the group ahead of our own interests. Poet Peter Skrzynecki uses various language techniques throughout his poems to portray the idea that you have to earn belonging. ‘Migrant hostel’ reflects his own personal experiences as a migrant in Australia. The combination of ‘’comings, goings, arrivals and sudden departures’’ implies a sense of chaos, insecurity and instability. Skrzynecki uses similes such as homing pigeon and birds of passage to explain the constant change, ‘we lived like birds of passage’. Freedom Writers, a film directed by Richard LaGravenese (based on a true story) is about a young teacher named Erin Gruwell played by actress Hilary Swank who inspires her class of at risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves and pursue education beyond high school. Knowing that Woodrow Wilson High school was in integrated high school, she chose to work there hoping to be an instrument for change. The concept of belonging is represented through the use of racial groups and gangs. The students are clearly identified as belonging to an ethnic group based on their colour, race and ethnicity for example the Cambodians, the Latino’s, African American and the whites. They also identify themselves as being gang members and belonging to a gang, this includes having territory and protecting your own. Security, affection, friendship and support are all examples of the benefits in belonging to a gang...
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