Speech on Belonging

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Belonging is usually defined as being accepted into and by members of a family, group, class, race, community or school. The term belonging means something different to everyone but most people will come up with the words acceptance, security and identity. In this speech I have chosen to talk about the aspects of belonging and not belonging in two of Peter Skrzynecki’s Poems, Migrant Hostel and 10 Mary Street and also in the 1997 film ‘Titanic’.

In Peter Skrzynecki’s Migrant Hostel, he talks about the 2 years of his life that he and most of his family lived in a Migrant hostel in Parkes after coming to Australia after World War 2 from Poland and leaving most of his family and polish heritage behind.

This poem gives the responder a sense of confusion about whether he belongs or not to this migrant hostel. Skrzynecki creates this confusion by contrasting the family’s sense of belonging to the hostel with the family’s confusion about whether or not they actually belonged to the Australian soil.

Although the migrant hostel was their home for 2 years there was always so many people coming and going that it didn’t really feel like a home which made it really hard to create a sense of belonging as a community.

Techniques used by Skrzynecki to create this sense of confusion about belonging are juxtaposition or contrast for example in the last stanza on the 6th line “Needing its sanction
To pass in and out of lives
That had only begun
Or were dying”
This can be referred to as when people arrive at the hostel their lives are just beginning as they have a second chance to start their lives over again and forget about the past and what has happened and concentrate on the future and then when they leave the hostel they feel lost because they are on unknown land and they feel they don’t really fit in with the Australian lifestyle as they have their own background and heritage to maintain. This quote could also mean the opposite when they leave they have a...
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