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Migrant Hostel Essay

527 words - 3 pages

Belonging explores the idea of rejection and alienation within a foreign society along with acceptance gained from like-minded individuals. This feeling of rejection and alienation in ‘Migrant Hostel’ is heightened by the imprisoning style of the hostels. The restrictive diction in the phrase “a barrier at the main gate sealed off the highway” denotes the sense of entrapment felt by the migrants. This is a physical, cultural and mental barrier, which represents the perceived attitude of the wider external society which creates a sense of self alienation and entrapment by acting as a constant reminder to themselves that they are not wanted, and this causes the profound feeling of contempt. The “highway”, is a metaphor for a sense of confident change which leads to the ...view middle of the document...

Being withdrawn or isolated from the world or from a certain group or individual causes a lack of belonging, which can be damaging, as belonging is so central to one’s needs.
Despite the barriers, belonging is an emotional and/or physical connection to a place, cultural group and oneself, however, one may encounter various challenges to find a sense of identity. Peter Skryznecki in ‘Migrant Hostel’ explores the migrant’s sense of displacement in their Australian culture, because of their process of assimilation to maintain a predisposition to their old traditions and customs. Skryznecki uses the simile “like a homing pigeon” to show how new migrants uses their cultural instinct to seek out people with the same similarities and culture as they feel like they are home in order to find a sense of unity. This is the way that they coped with the barriers of this new environment. The bird imagery is reinforced in the simile and metaphor “we lived like birds of passage” as the migrants wants to begin their next stage of their life away from the oppressive conditions of incarceration, demonstrating that the migrants never fully understanding where they fit in unless they are in the transition of the hostel, constantly searching for a destination and shows the luminal space between the certainty of their past identity and their ambiguity. They must undergo this lingering process, however, the sense of disorientation, displacement and uncertainty is conveyed. They have no choice but to keep circling and searching. This maintaining to seek refuge with the known and connective past, brings both comfort and stability to the migrants, as they deal with the unfamiliarity of the overriding presence of the Australian community/culture.

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