Peter Skrzynecki - Immigrant Chronicle

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What techniques do the composers employ to represent their ideas about the journey and its impact both mental and physical? Refer to two Skrzynecki poems and two related texts.

A physical journey which involves the movement from one place to another can have lasting effects on an individual or group which can be mental, emotional, physical, or a combination. The effects and overall impact of a journey will depend on the characteristics of the particular journey undertaken. The composers of different texts all employ a number of different techniques to convey, to the reader, their ideas about a journey and the impact that the journey being taken may have on an individual or group. We see the different techniques employed by composers through Peter Skrzynecki’s Crossing the Red Sea and Immigrants at Central Station, Shirley Geok-lin Lims The Town Where Time Stands Still and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. Peter Skrzynecki wrote his poems in order to educate others on the effects and impact that a physical journey can have on other people using his own experience and experience of his family as an example. In peter Crossing the Red Sea many techniques are employed to represent his ideas about the journey taken the war torn country to a new land and the impact it has on the travelers.

In the first stanza Skrzynecki begins to describe the poor physical discomfort that the people ‘crossing the red sea’ are enduring. “Many slept on deck because of the day’s heat or to watch a sunset they would never see again” this is describing the physical discomfort of the travelers as well as an emotional wrench as the people from the war torn countries break off from there old lives and leave behind the sunset. The poor physical conditions and qualities are emphasised in alliteration “shirtless in shorts, barefooted” a metaphor is used to describe what the people are in “themselves a landscape”. “Milk white” is an adjective to describe the people’s flesh which suggests they haven’t seen much sunshine. “Scoured and polished” is also an adjective to compare the condition of the people to the harsh, hard deck of the boat.

Metaphor “voices left their caves” and personification in “silence fell from its shackles” reveal to us that the travelers have begun to talk. The words “caves” and “shackles” suggest that the human communication between these people has been imprisoned and there is a catharsis as they all begin to release emotion and communicate once again. Description in “sunken eyes” fits with the poor physical conditions and personification in “memories strayed” both tell of the travelers remembering the places they have been and the things they have seen in there past lives which has an emotional impact on their well being as they must now break away from this prior life.

Personification of the war in section 2 makes the poem personal with the word “We”. “Neither masters nor slaves” suggests that the immigrants do not have a status, they have no control over where they are going but they are not forced to be there. Imagery in “red banners” could perhaps refer to the spread of communism or it could refer to the countries flag in mock honor “in mock salute”. It also has war connoatations as red symbolises the colour of blood. “Patches and threads of dialogue” is a metaphor for the slow way in which the people have begun to communicate between each other. Another descriptive image is used to describe the poor physical conditions in “unshaven faces”. “As respite from the interruption of passing waves” gives the people a break from the boredom and monotony of the trip. Direct speech is used to give examples of what people said to one another; “I remember a field of red poppies…” symbolises the remembrance of the fallen soldier and memories of a field in Europe where a soldier could have possibly fallen. The words “red” and “blood” is repeated many times to emphasize the bloodshed and loss. Biblical references are made...
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