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Migrant Hostel Analysis
Transcript of Migrant Hostel Analysis
Of all the comings and goings –
Arrivals of newcomers
In busloads from the station,
Sudden departures from adjoining blocks
That left us wondering
Who would be coming next.
Each other out instinctively –
Like a homing pigeon
Circling to get its bearings;
Years and place-names
Recognised by accents,
Partitioned off at night
By memories of hunger and hate.
For over two years
We lived like birds of passage –
Always sensing a change
In the weather:
Unaware of the season
Whose track we would follow.
Nelson Bay Migrant Hostel circa 1951
photographs from the National Archives of Australia A barrier at the main gate
Sealed off the highway
From our doorstep –
As it rose and fell like a finger
Pointed in reprimand or shame;
And daily we passed
Underneath or alongside it –
Needing its sanction
To pass in and out of lives
That had only begun
Or were dying.
simile connecting them to birds- freedom of movement but also a sense there is no 'set' resting place. weather imagery suggests lapse of time: constant change and therefore no certainty suggestion that belonging is deeply ingrained or felt: it is almost primal another reference to birds suggesting that there is a strong and pervasive need use of the word 'partitioned' is figurative, suggesting that there are some experiences that can't be shared alliteration, abstract nouns shows the strength of the forces that pull people apart 'barrier' and 'sealed' are emotive words suggesting their isolation:
are they being protected or excluded? simile/personification shows that Skrzynecki was personally affected by their segregation from the community contrast of 'in and out' and 'begun/dying' shows that they experienced very little control over their own lives 'noone kept count' dehumanizes the experience- they are 'numbers' not 'people' contrast emphasises the lack of stability question indicates a lack of certainty over their position lacking a sense of security, stability and ownership leads to feelings of restlessness
belonging is ingrained: people constantly seek familiarity
'belonging' can also be entrapment; or segregation of exclusion from the outside world even if it seems like protection