Since the time of the first humans we have all felt the need in our society to belong, whether that is to someone, something or somewhere. If we don’t belong as a person, you will feel alone and alienated. I’m Joshua Horan and today i will be discussing with you the concept of belonging through the use of Peter Skrzynecki’s Poems Migrant Hostel and feliks Skrynecki and a related text of Little Miss Sunshine directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
Peter Skryznecki and his family immigrated to Australia from warn torn Europe in 1949. Peter’s experience of belonging as an immigrant growing up in a strange western society is explained in his collection of Poems the ‘Immigrant chronicles’, this collection of poems is the recounts and emotions in which he felt.
‘Migrant Hostel’ is a poem about the midway housing that fresh immigrants were to be located for the first few years of development into Australian society. From the Hostel, residents could begin working in Australian Jobs and also begin to raise a family. In Migrant Hostel, Peter tries to belong but finds it difficult because of the Barriers in which Australia has placed on the individuals both physically and psychological within the Hostel, The instability of housing in the hostel. But the residents themselves create sense of belong to each other. In depth this poem is about belonging to a place, in this certain poem Peter illustrates the alienation in which he and the other immigrants experienced whilst staying in the hostel. This can be seen in the extract “a barrier at the main gate... as it rose and fell like a finger Pointed in reprimand or shame” this statement means that the immigrants felt that Australia looked down upon them, it gave the sense that Australia did not want them to belong and that is why there is a barrier on the front gate which acts as both a physical and a psychological barrier for the residents within. The technique in which peter uses to explain this alienation is Imagery as when we hear the extract for a moment in time we see it through the eyes of Peter as a young immigrant in this new environment. Throughout Migrant Hostel peter describes how he feels he does not belong, this is both because of the barriers by the Australian society and also the uncertainty of the stability of his new home, as Peter states “the coming and goings in busloads” this extract shows there were always individuals leaving and arriving giving no stability to the residents making them not able to belong even to a simple hostel room because they could not settle into these homes because they maybe be evicted or leave the next morning, they were a temporary isolation. The technique used in this explanation of not belonging is again Imagery as we see these actions through peters P.O.V, the description of “Busloads” of people show the large scale of people who would now call Australia home.
Lastly and perhaps the only evidence of belonging in seen in the residents themselves, with the residents seeking out the homeland comrades, this shows that although the Australian Government had placed barriers on them belonging to Australia they still belonged to one another. Could you imagine being alone in a strange building with all types of people then hearing your natural tongue? It would be exonerating.
The Poem Feliks Skrynecki is about Peter having difficulties belonging to family while undertaking the transition to western society. In this poem Peter writes not a negative poem about his father but rather a tribute to him and his ways of life and the hardships he triumphed.
The poem, Feliks Skrynecki studied in depth reveals that Peter has attempted to belong to Australia and a western society way of life but has left his Poland heritage to dwindle in the dark. It is also evident that Feliks resists belonging to Australia but keeps his belonging to his beloved culture.