Migrant Hostel Peter Skrzynecki

Skrzynecki’s experience of belonging as a post war migrant has shaped his perceptions of belonging. Skrzynecki represents belonging as difficult to achieve. How does Skrzynecki convey the difficulties of belonging?

Perceptions and the value one places on belonging are largely shaped by experiences of belonging/not belonging. Migrant Hostel by Peter Skrzynecki shows an experience of not belonging and an opinion of belonging being difficult to achieve by showing experiences of being a post war immigrant and always being in a state of flux, which is shown to disallow any real sense of belonging to be developed.

The first stanza of migrant hostel shows a difficult experience of not belonging by showing the impermanence and insignificance that the migrants feel. The negative language used when Skrzynecki says ‘no one kept count’ and the visual imagery of the ‘busloads’ of migrants expresses the anonymity that the migrants feel, they are not individual people, not even a number. Skrzynecki’s experience of belonging as a migrant also shows a struggle of being powerless in ones environment. The use of the statement ‘sudden departures’ shows the migrants being dictated by a higher power.

Stanza two sees the struggle to belong from a more personal level and shows the instinctive desire that people have to belong. Personal memories and experiences can prevent and challenge belonging and result in isolation. Skrzynecki expresses this using metaphorical language of ‘partitioned off at night’, which shows their belonging constantly being destroyed, and the alliteration in ‘memories of hunger and hate’ shows their WW2 experiences and memories separate the migrants and prevent them from belonging in a group situation.

Instability and a lack of understanding of ones surroundings influence a sense of belonging greatly. Stanza three shows evidence of this idea and shows the struggle to belong in a place of impermanency. The temporal phrase of ‘for over two years’...