Skrzynecki, Peter – The Immigrant Chronicle
“Belonging is essential for human fulfillment”
When somebody belongs they usually feel accepted and comfortable, yet when somebody does not belong, feelings of detachment and disorientation can be seen, so surely belonging is essential for human fulfillment. Peter Skrzynecki’s poems Migrant Hostel and Postcard show the fulfillment of belonging but mainly of not belonging, being disoriented and detached from the society in which Skrzynecki and his family lives.
Skrzynecki’s poem Migrant Hostel deals with his family’s migration to Australia, living in a migrant hostel and struggling to adjust to a new cultural …show more content…
Because of the Polish heritage of Skrzynecki’s parents the only way to feel they belonged in the migrant hostel and in society in general was to take comfort in shared experiences “Years and place-names/Recognised by accents”.
The simile “like birds of passage” in the third stanza echoes the simile in stanza two so again we see the need for belonging to create this sense of human fulfillment and familiarity.
Skrzynecki uses a simile again in stanza four “rose and fell like a finger/pointed in reprimand or shame” for the “barrier at the main gate” and so is also personified, through this simile it suggests a feeling of blame and imprisonment in a literal and figurative way. This shows the audience that all sense of belonging has been lost because they can’t control their own …show more content…
A sense of not belonging emerges in the third stanza where Skrzynecki explains that he never knew Warsaw “except in third person”, he only knows of his homeland through what his parents have told him and through photos.
In stanza four Skrzynecki reflects on his parents’ attachment to where they came from and how that their sense of belonging to their homeland is essential for their own human fulfillment. Skrzynecki tells this as if he were speaking to the city, his “father/ will be proud/ of your domes and towers” and his mother “will speak of her/ beloved Ukraine”. A shift in tone occurs when Skrzynecki adds the rhetorical question at the end of stanza four “what’s my choice/to be?” he begins to consider a sense of his own belonging through the question and starts to need that feeling of belonging for his own fulfillment.
Another rhetorical question is asked at the end of the fifth stanza “what more/do you want/besides/the gift of despair?” this demonstrates the growing interest in acquiring an attachment to Warsaw but also resisting it, this idea reflects that essential need to belong for his own fulfillment in