To Belong or Not to Belong

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To belong or not to belong

A sense of belonging can emerge from the connections made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger world. To find where one belongs isn’t always a pleasant journey. It depends on your personal experience, to whether you find it pleasant or not. Peter Skrzynecki shares his personal experience of migration and the years after through poems not all so pleasant, which I would like to show you parts of his journey today. I would also like to explore the picture book The Arrival by Shaun Tan also about migration experience. Born in 1945, Peter Skrzynecki moved from Germany at the end of WW2, travelling by sea to Australia spending time in migrant hostels in Sydney. Skrzynecki presents feelings of belonging or not belonging as things that grow naturally within the individual, he seconds through the poem St Patricks College since his mother forced him to go so she could belong. Moving to Australia at age four Skrzynecki finds it difficult to know where he belongs and whether or not he should, return to his birth place to his cultural identity. He is forced to explore his cultural identity in the poem “post card” he questions how he can belong to a place that he has never directly experienced. “I never knew you/ except in the third person” so the question is does Skrzynecki belong in Australia where he has lived for most of his life or does he belong in Germany. Thousands of migrants come to Australia and for many of them Australia will be the only home they know, but there will always be the question where do I belong. They may deny their cultural identity. Shaun Tans picture book The Arrival explores an immigrant’s journey to a new land. The silent story makes the reader feel as if they are the protagonist, trying to make sense of the strange imagery before us. The use of recurring birds is used to emphasise the migrant experience. Shaun shows the alienation of going to a new world through the pictures in which are also...
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