Area Of Study Belonging Essay

1156 words - 5 pages

Belonging is an essential part of the human experience. Belonging to a community can be empowering or disempowering. Peter Skrzynecki uses the medium of poetry in “Migrant Chronicle” to explore the painful process of belonging to a new alien community, and the negative and positive consequences. “Migrant Hostel” represents the first stage of the resettlement process and the disempowering feelings associated with trying to belong. “10 Mary Street” and “Feliks Skrzynecki” celebrate empowerment of establishing a family home. Shaun Tan’s Graphical novel “The Arrival” looks at one man’s journey for acceptance in an alien community. While “All at sea in a leaky boat”, a feature article from the ...view middle of the document...

The bird imagery created in the simile “like a homing pigeon/circling to gain its bearings” creates a sense of dizziness or disorientation, which contributes to the confusion felt by migrants. The repetition of the bird imagery “like birds of passage” is symbolic of being caged and locked up like a bird, powerless. It also hints at the migrants underlying need to move on and be free. The feelings of disorientation and being caged suggest how being cut off from the community leaves the Skrzynecki family and other migrants feeling powerless.
“All at sea in a leaky boat” supports “Migrant Hostel”, further exploring how racism and segregation can leave people feeling alienated and inadequate. The image of “Behind big metal gates” creates a sense of dislocation for the asylum seekers, physically removed from the broader society. The “Boat people” are offered accommodation at the “welcome centre” where they are “locked in their hundreds in hot, concrete segregated yards.” The positive image of a “welcome centre” is juxtaposed with harsh reality. This harsh reality is also accompanied with the racist views of the community, where the mayor claims that he “is not racist, but” that “the stench of Negro flesh stinks even when it is washed”. This derogatory quote delivered by a spokesman for society reflects the attitudes towards the Africans who are “fleeing war, persecution and famine”. This article highlights the struggle undertaken by asylum seekers seeking a new beginning. Exploring how dislocation and discrimination can leave this minority feeling inadequate and disempowered.
“The Arrival” echoes the frustration felt by the new comers in “Migrant Hostel” and “All at sea in a leaky boat”. The protagonist feels lost, insecure and powerless upon arrival to an alien community, without the family unit left behind in Europe. The scene of arrival uses imagery to portray the insecurity and loss of identity felt by the man as he steps off a huge steam boat into a line of shadowed faces. The snake like line slithering into the horizon coupled with the shadowed faces is symbolic of the loss of identity felt by the new comers. Tan has used this image alone to illustrate how dislocation to the community can render a man feeling powerless. Another technique used by Tan is the size of the panels, which can slow down or speed up the pace of the novel generating different moods. As the persona disembarks from the ship six small panels speed up the scene, this variation in speed...

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