The Theme of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki’s St. Patrics College and Jared McMillan’s Fitting In: What Not to Do
Texts explore ideas on belonging, whether it is about choosing to belong or choosing not to belong. To feel a sense of belonging is a major part that satisfies the emotional needs of a human. Not everyone belongs to the same things, places or people as not everyone has the same experiences, cultural background, understanding, relationships and lifestyle. These factors attribute, deliberately or not, when a person has to choose whether to belong or not to belong. In Peter Skrzynecki’s ‘St. Patricks College’, and Jared McMillan’s ‘Fitting In: What no to do’, both the poet and the author have represented choices not to belong to a certain place and a certain group of people in their texts.
Skrzynecki’s poem ‘St. Patricks College’ portrays ideas about the choice that the persona makes to not belong to the school that the persona’s mother had enrolled him in. The persona’s disrespectful behaviour of sticking ‘pine needles’ on the school motto indicates the lack of interest and pre-existing attitude towards the school.
The behaviour of the persona proves that the persona is choosing to separate himself from the school. Skrzynecki repeats the phrase ‘for eight years’ to emphasise the great deal of time in a young person’s life and also the sense that it felt endless. The repetition reveals that the persona has chosen not to belong to the school as it implies that the persona did not enjoy being in the school and did not want any sort of connection with the school.
The persona’s choice not to belong is again highlighted in the juxtaposition ‘walked… played… caught’ and ‘like a foreign tourist/ Uncertain of my destination / Every time I got off’. The verbs create a feeling of action and interaction but the discomfort and disconnection that the persona feels is bluntly described as the word ‘tourist’ implies that the persona is out of place.
The dis-attachment is again reinforced by the irony in ‘I’ve been privileged to wear’. The phrase before says that the persona ‘carried’ the ‘blue, black and gold’ uniform. The word ‘carried’ suggests a chore not a privilege, as the word has negative connotations in this context which portray a sense of burden. The word ‘carried’ also reveals that the persona deliberately chooses not to belong to the school, as he chose to describe himself wearing the uniform as to carrying the uniform, dis-attaching himself from the school.
The text ‘Fitting In: What not to do’ also has evidences of choosing not to belong to a certain group of people. The main character Jared is thrilled at first at the fact that he could be friends with the ‘cool people’ of the school but later he realises that he didn’t want to hang out with ‘these type of people’. Jared’s behaviour of refusing to drink is emphasised with the ellipses in the line “Oh no, I don’t drink…” which reveals the fact that he feels uncomfortable in this place. The following line “if you want to hang out with these type of people you have to do what they do” Proves that he does not included to this group of people and “it was all just an act” that he was putting on “trying to live out a fantasy” of his.
Later on in the text, Jarred is determined to leave the ‘cool group’ and this is shown by the regretful tone of the rhetorical questions “…what had I been doing? Where had I gone so wrong?” These rhetoric questions imply that he does not want to conform to the way that the group behaves also dis-attaching himself from the group. This embodies that Jarred does not want to associate with the cool group anymore, abandoning and disconnecting himself from the group.
The writer has used another rhetoric question in the next paragraph, followed by a line showing Jared’s inner thoughts. A guy from the ‘cool group’ yelled at him “where do you think you’re going? If you leave now you’re never getting back to where you are!” and Jared replies to this by thinking to himself, “Good, I thought, I don’t want to be here anyways”. The rhetoric question unveils the fact that the ‘cool group’ never really accepted Jared as a real member of the group whilst the line following shows that not being accepted by them is what Jared wanted. This affirms that the character Jared has chosen not to be a part of the group that he has no connections to.
To conclude, Skrzynecki’s “St. Patricks College” and Jared McMillan’s “Fitting in: What not to do”, both represent choices not to belong to a certain group or place. These two texts have contrasting settings and different characters but they are brought together by the choice of not belonging. This proves that texts represent choices not to belong and that belonging is a time transcending issue.
A Comparison of Migrant Hostel and Ancestors by Peter Skrzynecki and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The statement ‘ A sense of identity, more than anything, is reliant upon the relationships between oneself, others and environment’ coherently defines the concept of belonging and identifies that in order for someone to know who they are and their purpose one must relate to internal and external relationships as well as the environment in which they reside. Belonging can be defined as the value, security and acceptance a person feels in the their environment and the poet Peter Skrzynecki demonstrates the idea of identity and belonging and, more predominantly not belonging, in two poems; ‘ Migrant Hostel’ and ‘Ancestors’, while the author and illustrator Maurice Sendak also explores the concepts in his picture book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. Where Skrzynecki uses solely language techniques in the form of rhetorical questions and thought, similes, tone and visual imagery, Sendak incorporates both language and visual techniques such as colour and light, framing and character body language.
The relationship the personas have with themselves is allied to their awareness of where they do and do not belong. Max, the main character of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, conspicuously defies those around him with arrogance and consequently escorts himself into ostracism from his mother and the expectations society has on children to obey. In Peter Skrzynecki’s poems he deems himself excluded and rejected from both the new country and his parents’ homeland due to differences in culture and heritage as he migrates from a Poland he never knew to an unfamiliar Australia, and after settlement, continues to be prompted to his connection to a different past.
‘Migrant hostel’ communicates Skrzynecki’s personal experience of displacement and migration. He sets a negative tone in the opening line of the first stanza ‘No one kept count’. The tone reflects the alienation Skrzynecki felt as a migrant, with foreign authorities systematically processing the populace of the migrant camp with no affection for the masses, uncertain in seeking their place and left feeling corporeal, as a figure to count rather than a unique individual which is also demonstrated by Skrzynecki’s lack of personal pronouns rather using ‘we’ and ‘us’ to describe himself as part of the greater commodity. Concurrently the simile ‘like a homing pigeon circling to get it’s bearing’ expresses the transitory nature of migration and the unsettled, stressful experience of being in quest of, embracing and belonging to a new home in a foreign land. Like that of a homing pigeon without a master, the migrants are in a state of dislocation, unaware of which way to turn and suggests that belonging is not simply about location but possessing a sense of value and connection to a place. In this time of confusion ‘nationalities sought each other out instinctively’ developing the idea that despite being dislocated and isolated from familiarity, people of a common culture ‘recognised by accents’ receive comfort from ‘memories’ of their recognised heritage and share similar hardships wrought by ‘hunger and hate’ that brought them where they belong together in a safer country and where they will share in the experience of seeking out a new home to establish a broader sense of belonging to country and an exotic culture.
Similarly, the main character of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, Max, struggles with a state of dislocation, but between his reality and his own imaginings laced with desire for power, where he belongs to both, but not simultaneously. Max is required to strike equilibrium between his parents’ expectations and the want of power the he can only attain in a make-believe world. Following being sent to bed minus supper. Max’s anger draws him into a personal realm where he ultimately faces himself. The large white boarders at the beginning of the picture book are symbolic of max’s inner emotions, feeling boxed in by realities limitations, an environment where he cannot express himself. As the story progresses the boarders become smaller while Max’s expression simultaneously shows his satisfaction of his restraints disappearing to the forest of his extraordinary imagination where he can freely articulate a power that would not be accepted at home and rein leader of his own world. The beings of Max’s forest ‘made him king of all wild things’. The ‘Wild Things’, with their intimidating size and bold, poised claws, can be seen as metaphoric manifestations of the power, anger and arrogance Max holds in himself- a beast with the need to be tamed. However there is also the need to belong as a part of the ‘Wild Things’ own group, but above all the need to express himself as a child and belong to his own imaginative childhood. In Max’s wild world the illustrations are more vivid and colourful then those in his home depicting a lighter, cheerful mood. However in his forest, Max is able to freely control what he wants but in reality he cannot. This is where he realises he ‘was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best’ and that he cannot live alone in the forest with the ‘Wild Things’ rather must sacrifice his power to return home where he belongs with his family. On returning to his real world the illustration is both full page and with an even more vivid hue than the forest presenting Max’s broadened and illuminated perception of home and where he truly belongs. Despite Max’s disagreement with his mother, he found ‘His supper waiting for him’. Max achieves a clearer sense of identity following the realisation of the importance of having someone to love and care for him, which is worth much more than a superficial covetousness for power.
Like the wild beings of Max’s fantasy, Peter Skrzynecki faces demons of his own; phantoms of his ancestors from a past he was removed from, dictating the disconnection between a former culture but still has the inability to fully adhere to a new one while the past streams behind. In the dream state of ‘Ancestors’ the poem possesses a vacillating tone as Skrzynecki reflects on his identity and the chains that bind him to his past. He does not coherently comprehend the meaning of this visitation and the poem emphasises the composer’s isolation from these ancestral beings as they remain intimidating and out of reach as they ‘hang over you’ and stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ Skrzynecki uses abstract visual imagery of ‘whispers’ and ‘eyes that never close’ to portray that the these ancestors are unfamiliar, haunting and taunt him emphatically with stories and pasts that may never be known, thus excluding him from knowledge that would include him in a past heritage. The composer refers to himself in second person to allow the reader to experience this otherworldly occurrence personally and influences them to feel his own confusion themselves heightening the effect of haunting imagery in ‘why do you wake as their faces become clearer – your tongue dry as cakes mud?’ The fact that these ancestors evoke Skrzynecki to compose the rhetorical question depicts his bewilderment induced by the being unsure as to where he belongs, and fearing becoming too close to these ancestors of unknown intentions and the realisation that he could belong to his cultural heritage or discover something unfavourable. ‘Tongue dry as caked mud’ displays Skrzynecki’s discomfort of the unknown and how he experiences internal conflict between ridding himself of the past experienced exclusively by ancestors rather than himself to fully observe an Australian identity. Decisively, Skrzynecki refutes the call to his ancestral past gathered from the discordant imagery of where ‘sand never stir’ and ‘the wind tastes of blood.’ He cannot fully devote himself to belong to either or another culture, heritage or past because he has not yet discovered himself or developed a clear understanding of where he fits because the knowledge is being withheld.
A sense of identity is achieved through clear relationships between oneself, others and the environment. Peter Skrzynecki itemises the areas in which he does not belong, however in doing so, the reader can see that he does in fact belong to and identifies with both his Polish and Australian cultural environment through his relation to those in a similar situation as demonstrated in ‘Migrant Hostel’ with others, who like himself experience, displacement and must transition into a new life. Likewise, in ‘Ancestors’, despite the fact the Skrzynecki is unsure of the Ancestors intent he acknowledges that ultimately his and other generations’ past belong to him whether or not he chooses to fully engage with a particular culture . In Sendak’s story there is a clear delineation as to where Max develops his sense of belonging and understanding of his identity as part of his family. His make-believe environment allows Max to arrive at the conclusion that his unrealistic desires are not worth sacrificing his secure home environment for, thus comprehending his relationship towards himself and those around him. Both personas derive a sense of identity between interchangeable relationships.
The Themes of Belonging in the Poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel by Peter Skrzynecki
Belonging is basically the sense when one feels a connection with their surroundings, and sharing similarities with those around them. When an individual doesn’t belong, they feel a sense of disconnection and isolation from their surroundings. The notion of belonging or not belonging allows individuals to understand their identity with deeper comprehension of who they are. This is due to the fact that if one belongs, they tend to develop a positive attitude of the world, and they discover their true identity based on social circumstances, and how their own characteristics have allowed them to fit in, whereas if they don’t have that sense of belonging, they are left alone to reflect on who they are, and what it is that has distanced their souls from the outside world. Peter Skrzynecki expresses the themes of belonging and not belonging in great depth within his poems Feliks Skrzynecki and Migrant Hostel. These poems express how the poet’s life experiences of belonging and not belonging have assisted in shaping him into who he is today. Janette Turner’s Blind Date is a novel that deeply commemorates the character’s experience with his father, as he lost his father at a young age, to later come to the realisation that he was the reason his father left. Therefore, society has come to a stage where they discover their identity in one of two ways, whether they belong or not.
It is a natural human instinct to feel a desire to belong, and family is the main area where every individual desires that connection. When one doesn’t feel that attachment with their family they tend to feel disconnected from a lot of aspects of life around them, and they may seek to discover their identity elsewhere. Peter Skrzynecki expresses this idea in his poem Feliks Skrzynecki, where the poet felt a disconnection with his father Feliks due to the struggles they encountered as they migrated to a new land. Feliks is portrayed as a busy man whose main aim is to work and earn money for his family to survive in this foreign land they are now calling home. He is so focused on trying to belong within this estranged society rather than maintaining the family ties within his household. “Loved his garden like an only child”, Peter uses a simile to express the link between Feliks and his garden. He is emphasising on the notion of belonging as well as the sense of ownership that Feliks holds over his garden. The poet has come to recognise the happiness and connection that his father feels in this place of belonging he has created for himself; although the child feels a desire to be a part of that happiness with his father, he feels as though he will always remain distant. On the other hand, although the child feels distant and no sense of connection with his father, he recognises the agony and pain his father goes through on a daily basis in order to build his family’s future in their new home. “Never once heard him complain of work, the weather or pain”, this indicates that the narrator is considerate of his father’s experiences and he respects his father’s tenacity to keep working in order to make a living. The audience comes to the realisation that the poet’s admiration and love for his father is great, yet he feels distant at times. The concept of belonging with a family is understood through Feliks and his child in the poem Feliks Skrzynecki. The poem basically refers to the love the child feels towards his father, as well as the desire he feels to receive the same kind of love in return. This representation allows the audience to connect with the individuals in the poem, as they may come to realise that there may be children of this society who may feel the same way towards their parents. Children may feel disconnected from their parents as they may feel that their parents are always too busy to create that attachment within the household. This may lead them to seek their identity and discover aspects of life on their own, rather than being taught by their family. Therefore, belonging within a family is an important aspect for one to understand their individual identity and make the right decisions at different stages of their lives.
The idea of belonging exists in every aspect of one’s life, however it may come across in a way where they belong but at the same time there is a sense of disconnection. It is of human nature to instantly begin a search for belonging wherever an individual may be, however, only some individuals have the benefit of finding the connection. This is evident in Peter Skrzynecki’s poem Migrant Hostel, as all the individuals feel alienated in this foreign land they have all entered, yet they seek comfort and refuge within each other as they are all overcoming the same experiences. The Skrzynecki’s have a sense of discomfort in this new place that they are now in, without even having an introduction, they are expected to adapt to a new way of life, and this has been applied to a majority of migrants who have arrived here with them. It is a human necessity to feel some sort of connection anywhere an individual is, as it distances them from the feelings of isolation and depression, they feel as though they have a place in the world. If an individual is truly looking to belong, they will find themselves a place anywhere that shares one thing in common with their own personal characteristics. Peter Skrzynecki shares in his poem, “nationalities sought each other out instinctively”, this emphasises the fact that individuals feel a desire to belong with people around them, and so they automatically recognise those from the same ethnic background as themselves. However, although these individuals have found comfort with one another, they are all struggling to belong to this new environment, as it is not what they are used to being exposed to. “Arrivals of newcomers”, they aren’t even recognised by their individual names, or by anything which relates to their identity, instead they are referred to as a majority of anonymous individuals who have just entered the country. All these individuals in the poem are not recognised by anything other than a collection of migrants, therefore they feel alienated from the Australian society, yet they still managed to comfort themselves with each other and build an attachment within the group. The audience relates to this idea in the sense that it is a natural human instinct to find a sense of belonging wherever one may be, they will come to the realisation that although our context may not always suit out needs, we shall always find a place of comfort, even though it may not be anything major.
Belonging within a family plays a productive role in shaping one’s identity, as they base their preferences on their family traditions and what their ethnicity permits, it is family history that allows individuals to develop a better understanding of who they really are. If an individual fails to maintain a strong bond of connection within their family, they will struggle to find comfort elsewhere, although it is possible. Blind Date by Janette Turner explains the importance of honesty and good relations between families, because without that, truth will be exposed later on and the outcome may not be satisfactory. In the novel, Lachlan’s father left the family eight years ago, and he decides to come back suddenly for the wedding of his daughter. Although Lachlan is glad to see his father again, he is aware that his mother and sister don’t share the positive attitude. Lachlan remembers his father with nothing but a good image in his mind, he pictures his father as a man who deserves great respect, and “there will be an organ fanfare. Everyone will stand”, the child paints an image in his own mind that when his father enters the church doors it will all go perfectly. The author uses auditory imagery when the child imagines the “organ fanfare”; this allows the audience not only to picture the entrance, but also to hear the sounds of the orchestra playing their music to suit the ‘noble man’ entering the doors. The child’s mind is constantly reminiscing his moments with his father as “he remembers the last words he heard his father say. ‘I’m sorry mate’.” Lachlan’s memories of his father and how everything crashed down in that moment when his father was leaving, and he had nothing else to say other than “sorry”. As Lachlan waits the very moment to reunite with his father again, however, along the way throughout the novel he becomes exposed to the truths of his father that were hidden from him, and he becomes aware as to why his sister and his mother despise his father to such an extent. Many individuals only have the ability to see the good in others, yet that is why when they are then exposed to the truth they begin to hurt, as it is delivered to them as a disappointment. It is crucial that families create a bond where they are constantly honest with one another as families are the main source of belonging for individuals in life, and many people struggle without a family. Therefore, it is important to maintain strong family ties, in order for one to find some sort of connection to their own individual identity.
To conclude Peter Skrzynecki explains how belonging assists in shaping one’s individual identity in the sense that one can always find a sense of connection with any part of their surroundings, this is portrayed in Migrant Hostel, although the individuals were aware that they did not have any sense of belonging to this new environment, they were capable to building a connection with each other as they all had the same experiences. In the poem Feliks Skrzynecki, the poet emphasises on the importance of creating family ties, as well as the bond between a father and his child, and how the child may feel disconnected at times due to how busy the parent is, and this may lead to the child not being able to live up to his full potential. The novel Blind Date by Janette Turner, relates to the poem Feliks Skrzynecki because they both explain the importance of maintaining family ties in order for one to have a main aspect of belonging in their life. Basically, for an individual to find their true identity, it is easier if they feel a sense of belonging, as they can relate certain characteristics of their own with those around them, however if one does not belong, they can also find a sense of belonging within themselves, yet they may not develop much confidence in themselves.
The Theme of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki’s Migrant Hostel
Belonging is considered a fundamental aspect of being human; belonging is an ambiguous concept which can offer individuals a sense of identity, security and connectedness. The idea of belonging is a significant and fundamental value in our lives. Belonging most commonly emerges from experience and notions of identity, relationships, acceptance, understanding and culture. (intro ps n poems n related txt – the terminal Steven Spielberg)
“Migrant Hostel” indicates the immigrants’ sense of barriers of the negative perceptions within the hostel. Migrant Hostel begins with the sense of secrecy with the numbers of migrants arriving and leaving, the words ‘comings, goings, arrivals’ and ‘sudden departures’ emphasise this. The rhetorical question ‘Who would be coming next’ highlights the insecurity, surprise and amazement of the migrants who were forced to come to the hostels and alienated from the rest of the population. Skrzynecki uses this technique of a list to convey a sense of dislocation by the migrants. He uses words such as “comings and goings” to describe the uncertainty of their lives. These words are contrasting and suggest that there is no sense of permanence and that the hostel is a temporary environment. In the related text, a scene of Viktor Novorski running up the stairs to see the news, this long shot scene shows how big and how crowded the international transit lounge is and by night it shows how everyone has left and how empty the lounge is, which makes him feel alienated and secluded from the world.
There is a sense of separation shown in the last stanza of Migrant Hostel. The ‘barrier at the main gate’ closes them off from the outside world and is symbolic of their feeling of alienation. The ‘highway’ is symbolic of their route to a new life from which they were prevented. The barrier rises and falls, a constant reminder that they are not wanted and highlights their separation from the real world and their feelings of shame. There is a sense of hope and freedom being offered as “only begun” refers to how life in this new country was only just starting, but their lives were “dying” because as migrants they were expected to drop their “cultural baggage” and take up the “Australian way of life”, thus killing their old traditions, values, beliefs and culture. Likewise, in the movie Mr Novorski enters a red carpet club member area of the lounge trying to watch the news of what had happened in his country, but the security guard comes and kicks him out without hesitation, this scene of Viktor worrying makes him feel even more secluded as the man is making a barrier between where he is and where Viktor is. As the doors close in front of him, the low sound of the music also stops.
The fifth stanza of Feliks Skrzynecki begins the maturing of the poet as he remembers the language of his parents and uses it at the suitable time to defend his father in the face of bureaucratic complacency and ignorance emphasised in his degrading rhetorical question “Did your father ever attempt to learn English?” the son’s disapproval of this unfairness is evident in the imagery of ‘dancing bear-grunts’ implying that the clerk was an animal showing no humanity. This stanza highlights the son’s continuing loyalty to his father and hints to the son’s own journey where the impact of his parent’s heritage begins to affect him. In the related text, The Terminal, a scene of Frank Dixon, the director of customs and border protection, says “I understand you speak a little English” and Viktor reply’s with a “yes” but a confused expression still placed on his face. The only noise or sound being made is of them talking and the sound of Frank taking his food out and placing it on his table, showing as he does not have any respect towards Viktor. In this scene it shows how Skrzynecki’s quote and this scene are similar, since both the people of the countries can speak English; they’re both discriminate towards people who do not speak English.
There is a need of belonging toward your culture which provides you with a sense of acceptance and value. The final stanza changes the poem’s focus to the son and his life revealing his loss of his inherited language altogether ‘I forgot my first Polish word’. This loss is in a sense the loss of his parent’s heritage, thus is the impact of the journey. The father is driven to keep it alive in his son but the final metaphor ‘Hadrian’s Wall’ reveals the certainty that the son will move further away from his father’s heritage in this new land of which his father is silently aware but unable to change his son’s course. This poem depicts the consequences of a physical journey and how experiences are different for each individual on the same journey. Similarly in the related text, a scene of Viktor Novorski talking with Frank Dixon, it shows Mr Viktor repeating the name of his country his country having a excited and happy facial expression, he repeats it so Mr Dixon can say it right. That interpretation there shows that, as you hear the sound of your country to get a strong sense of belonging towards it.
Lyrical Components in Jean Bailey’s Song the Long March
In October 1934 90,000 Red Army soldiers were forced to begin a journey that would be revered worldwide. While retreating from SE China the Kuomintang began to pursue by the Red Army. While travelling and fighting this legion of men marched through 18,000 km of some of the harshest landscape entailing mountain ranges, major rivers, dense forest and icy swamps.
Whilst travelling the soldiers had passed through many provinces, each of which the Army had enforced rules to share among the community and redistributed estate, and left collections of men to help the peasants set up self-governing councils. This journey ultimately brought about the over turn of the governing powers and the establishment of communism.
‘The Long March’ is an objective article detailing the events, consequences and lasting effects that this voyage created. This was a journey based symbolic, sacrificial and political reasons more than any geographical choice, of which the implications may still be noted throughout Asia.
The admiration the long march received is vastly credited to the composition of the Red Army itself. Prior to the journey these men were strangers to one another, but within the Red Army and bonded by a common goal, of communism, were able to unify. The challenging journey required for the men to form trusting and respectful relationships with each other, as their only hope for survival was through teamwork. This is displayed as the Army crosses freezing mountain ranges, ” The stronger hauled at the weaker, or supported them, or carried their rifles”
Through the determination of all involved to achieve their concluding result the physical journey caused a change in the situation and consequently a change in all the men’s priorities.
Within ‘The Long March’ the text highlights how the physical journey enables them to over come adversity. Challenges that would otherwise be concerned unfeasible, were confronted and completed, this determination may be credited to the degree of importance this journey had acquired. This idea may be exposed by the description of soldiers crossing a damaged bridge, “All footing had been removed… below the water churned and frothed…soon twenty-two volunteers… were clinging to the chains and moving along hand over hand”, these soldiers edged across a large river on a chain towards the other side that was on fire while getting shoot at! The challenge was met regardless of the severity.
This is also supported by the text stating that the pursuing Kuomintang had more numerous causalities when crossing the Grasslands and decided to retreat due to the harsh conditions, this is evidence to verify that because they had no ingrained determination to embark on such a challenging physical journey they proved unable to over come adversity.
As The Red Army voyaged across the country, the journey began to take more of a symbolic significance. The respect they received for the sacrifice and determination involved towards voicing their beliefs of communism. The Red Army became a symbol of union and power due to the inability of the Kuomintang to immobilize their forces. Unification of the army’s forces caused them to emerge as a symbol, which was a direct result of the physical journey.
An Army engineer presents his memories of the Red Army displaying their symbolic power, ” at night we sang and made torches… From the summit we could look in both directions and see miles of torches moving forward like a wave of fire”
One point of physical journey I feel this article stresses is the unpredictability of physical journey. The irony of how by retreating from the enemy as they felt they would otherwise be defeated, the Red Army achieved overall victory, or how fear and adversity can incubate love and respect. A physical Journey is unpredictable and uncontrollable and this article is evidence of this.
The Author of ‘The Long March’, Jean Bailey, uses several techniques within the article to stress certain points. Being an objective article Jean uses selective information to enable her stress points and make subtle opinions to increase the articles appeal, this is displayed by the author failing to state most of the Red armies problems, casualties, problems with communism, implemented as such data would counteract tone of article.
The author also uses imagery of many conditions the soldiers with the intention of making the reader feel empathetic towards the soldiers, displayed by “Fog, hail, snow. It grew so cold that breath turned to webbed ice.”
Jean Bailey enforces the idea of unification by using a quote that uses simile with symbolic significance, “…lights coiling like a fiery dragon up the mountainside… torches moving forward like a wave of fire”
The author intends the audience once more to feel empathy and relate to the soldiers as ordinary people by using visual stimulus. This image also conveys the idea of unification and respect among them.
The structure is sequential in the timing of events with a standard introduction and conclusion to add interest to the topic.
Links to Core
The text ‘The Long March’ link with the core topic of Peter Skrzynecki in several ways. The optimism towards the ‘The Long March’ is stated quite explicitly, “Morale was high… companies would sing”, their journey ahead is exciting and will be rewarding, and their situation requires them to aspire for some thing. This is concurrent with emotions felt by Peter’s immigrant’s in ‘Crossing the Red Sea’, whereby the immigrants are escaping there home lands to a place they feel shall offer them and their families opportunities and safety. “They beckoned towards a blood-rimmed horizon…the equator was still to be crossed”, the blood rimmed sunrise signifies the beginning of a new part of their lives and renewal whilst the ‘equator still to be crossed identifies the still huge journey ahead.
Also ‘Immigrants at Central Station’ displays similar emotions, “Along glistening tracks of steel”, which portrays the tracks as dream-like as they are so important to these immigrants journey and are leading them to their new lives.
The common link between the pieces is the creation of optimism. As their situations are currently distressing they look to the future for motivation, and physical journey offers optimism with changes and new opportunities.
A major aspect of ‘The Long March’ is how the soldiers continually over come adversity in many situations along their journey, such as crossing the damaged bridge. Although in Peter Skrzynecki’s poem’s the immigrants initially defeat adversity by travelling to Australia throughout the rest of the poem’s the immigrant’s continue to accept their suffering this is demonstrated when the immigrant stay at the hostel and feel they need sanction from the world, and when Felix Skrzynecki fails to resolve his son’s loss of culture and suffering relationship. However during ‘A Drive in the Country’ we see in the closing lines “walks away from a road that only runs one way.”
A physical journey will never lose momentum but may only be shaken and diverted by ones own choices in life, while the immigrants continually succumbed to adversity they had no control over their lives, but by’ walking away from a road’ they shall alter their path for the better.
Being in article format ‘The Long March’ resultantly is not only subjective but almost reduced of most character emotion and filled mostly with facts, data and details. In direct contrast all of Peter Skrzynecki’s poems are filled with much more emotion based text, like simile, metaphor, imagery.
Whilst ‘The Long March’ comes to a conclusion, none of Peter Skrzynecki’s poems have a sense of finality resultant of how he feels about his journey and life.
The original reason I selected this piece was because I found it so interesting and surreal, The distance they travel and circumstances they endure makes it impossible not to feel for these heroic men, I was surprised also as I never heard of the event before. I felt this article was based on a physical journey that was a true accomplishment and I felt it’s consequences spanned further than any other material I had viewed.
I think the author did a great job portraying the story using this text type, although I think the into duction of side plots or characters would have wrecked the reality of the story, I do feel that this type of article should be more subjective, at least in conclusion.
From my related text I have learned about the events that took place throughout China that led to the establishment of communism.
I felt it was excellent revision for writing articles, as it has all the Structure, content, and layout.
I expanded my knowledge and understanding of physical journey by recognising them for symbolic uses, and being able to inspire and change a nation.
The Sense of Belonging in Peter Skrzynecki’s and Armin Greder’s Poems
A need to belong is an integral component of all individuals. An individual’s sense of belonging is relied on the relationships they form within their lifetime. Their experiences are the key to building strong relationships, it determines whether a sense of belonging is created or destroyed. This is clear through the poems ‘Migrant Hostel’ and ‘St Pats’ by Peter Skrzynecki and the picture book, The Island by Armin Greder. Throughout these texts it is evident that in a negative, fast paced and anonymous environment relationships can’t be formed. If one is unwilling to belong to their environment, they will form no connection to it or others and when others purposefully exclude an individual, strong relationship can’t be formed and an individual will be denied a sense of belonging.
When an individual finds themselves in a situation where they have no control over what their experiences or future is belonging can’t occur. Through the poem ‘Migrant Hostel’, Skrzynecki explores what an actively and anonymous environment can have on an individual’s sense of belonging. This environment is clearly shown through the first stanza, “Sudden departures…would be coming next.” The ominous tone of “sudden” and the use of enjambment allow Skrzynecki to rein act the experiences of the constant flurry of activity and the anonymity that results from the sheer number further leads to this uncertainty and ominous overtones for the reader. In these environments relationships are hard to form. Furthermore, this limited sense of control over their future acts as a block to forming connections to others. Skrzynecki highlights this through the simile, “we lived like birds of passage…change in the weather.” Skrzynecki uses the bird motif throughout this poem to show a lack of freedom of choice that the migrants had over the experiences they had. Their future wasn’t in their hands and this affected their ability to belong and form a connection with the outside world and others. In the last stanza, Skrzynecki used the barrier at the main gate to cement his perception of not belonging to the outside world. This is symbolised from “highway” and this barrier “rose and fell…in reprimand and shame.” Through personification, Skrzynecki offers an insight of how the migrants felt in this limited environment. It made the migrants feel inadequate and unworthy and made them wonder what their future would be like. Therefore, through ‘Migrant Hostel’, it is evident that belonging can’t be sustained in an unstable environment where relationships can’t be formed.
If an individual ignores a sense of belonging to their environment they will not be able to form connections to others and the environment. Skrzynecki, through ‘St Pats’ clearly shows that if an individual is unwilling to be accepted into the environment, it can affect their sense of belonging. This is seen through the second stanza, “Our lady watched…face overshadowed with clouds.” The welcoming quality of “Our lady watched with outstretched arms” is instantly juxtaposed with “her face overshadowed by clouds”. Skrzynecki utilises juxtaposition to add an ominous quality to the situation and to show the reader an uncertainty to his own feeling of being welcomed. An individual’s unwillingness to feel belong to an environment makes it difficult for relationships to be formed. Additionally, this unwillingness to feel a sense of belonging has created a barrier where even time can’t cement a connection. This is explored through beginning of stanza three, “for eight years”. The repetition of “eight years” suggests that even though Skrzynecki was at the school for a long period of time, he still didn’t find a sense of belonging with the environment or with others. It shows an insight of how he still hasn’t accepted the school and the people around him. He could have a sense of belonging but chooses not to accept the environment. He did make connections with some people but still didn’t feel belonged which is seen in the third stanza, “caught the 414 bus like a foreign tourist, unsure of their destination each time they got off.” This implies that day in and day out he caught the same bus for eight years strikingly captures his lack of understand, acceptance and connection to St Pat’s. Hence, through “St Pat’s”, it is clearly shown that if you don’t accept belonging to an environment you can’t form relationships.
When an individual faces an experience where they are isolated from a group belonging can’t occur. This is seen through the picture book The Island; Armin Greder explores how isolation or alienation can affect an individual’s sense of belonging. This is seen through opening 1, “he wasn’t like them;” The tone and the use of juxtaposition imply that the man doesn’t belong on the island because there is hardly anything behind him. The transience of this phrase works to have a larger impact on the audience that forwards their sympathy for the man rather than the islanders. Additionally, in opening 4,”so they took him in.” the use of juxtaposition shows how a lack of understanding can cause people to isolate an individual. This represents that they accepted him but the islanders are following right behind him with pitchforks and other weapons showing that they don’t understand him and they don’t want him to be with them. Lastly, in opening 10, a villager says, “He is a stranger, He doesn’t belong.”. The tone and literal statement conveys a sad and depressing mood which causes a further understanding of the islander’s attitude in creating barriers to prevent the man from connecting with them. Thus, it is visible that an individual that faces experiences where they are isolated from others can’t find a sense of belonging.
It is undeniable that Skryznecki and Greder explore the factors which affect an individual’s perception on relationships with others and the environment, which is one of the major factors. He clearly highlights how a sense of belonging is essentially relied on the relationships that are formed. In conclusion, through this poem, Skrzynecki and Greder emphasises on how a need to belong is an integral component of all individuals. An individual’s sense of belonging is relied on the relationships they form within their lifetime.