“Belonging is about searching for acceptance in the unfamiliar.”
Belonging can be defined as being a part of a certain group. Searching for acceptance in the unfamiliar is certainly evident in the migrant poetry of Peter Skrzynecki. ‘Migrant Hostel’ explores the challenges and uncertainties experienced by migrants who have recently arrived in a new and complex land. Similarly, ‘Ancestors’ conveys the trauma of connecting with the unfamiliar cultures of his parent’s homeland and culture. Finally the song ‘Somewhere I Belong’ by Linkin Park represents the turmoil of attempting to find out your true self.
The opening stanza of ‘Migrant Hostel’ shows a sense of chaos, confusion and uncertainty within the hotel as the migrants do not know what is happening around them “no one kept count of all the comings and goings”, and there friends were leaving “sudden departures…” and didn’t know who was going to come next “left us wondering who was coming next.”
A sense of belonging arises within the hostel once the individuals find people of their own culture that they can associate with and accept them for who they are, evident in the simile “nationalities sought each other out instinctively like a homing pigeon”
The third stanza conveys a sense of disorientation within the group as they are in transition and do not have a permanent home, evident in the simile “lived like birds of passage.” This simile also represents how the migrants belong to a group, as birds of passage always migrate together.
‘Ancestors’ represents Skrzynecki’s feeling of disassociation with his family’s culture and beliefs. A feeling of mystery is emitted throughout the poem with the use of rhetorical questions. The opening stanza describes “bearded faceless men standing shoulder to shoulder” adding further mystery as he does not know who they are. ‘Standing shoulder to shoulder’ symbolises that they belong, but the poet is excluded from them. The feeling of exclusion is further emphasised...