Area of Study Essay

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MIGRANT HOSTEL A tone of instability and insecurity is set within the first stanza where the accumulation of the nouns “comings and goings”, “arrivals” and “sudden departures” suggests a sense of chaos and highlights the lack of stability within the poet's life. The use of enjambment of “wondering/ who would be coming next” allows the emphasis to fall heavily on “who”, illustrating the transient nature of the hostel environment and putting emphasis on the uncertainty of who is to arrive next. This constant change becomes unsettling and prevents the poet from finding a place of belonging and further hindering his self-identity, leaving him lost and confused. The physical and emotional divisions set up by different nationalities is further emphasised within the second stanza. “Nationalities sought/ Each other out instinctively” reflects how the migrants share a common element, that they are searching for a sense of belonging in a foreign land. Although this sense of displacement is present, the migrants find that they belong to each other through “Years and place names/ Recognised by accents”. The use of the simile, “Like a homing pigeon/ Circling to get its bearings” creates a sense of the migrants’ desire for a secure, permanent home. The image of “circling” indicates that the poet is constantly having to readjust to his surroundings and accompanies feelings of dislocation. The “barrier at the main gate” is a physical symbol used to highlight the migrants’ perception of their lack of belonging in Australian society. This barrier “sealed off the highway/ From [their] doorstep” representing the disassociation the migrants have towards Australian society. This physical division between Australians and the migrants reflects the migrants’ perception of their lack of welcome or belonging. The simile “...and fell like a finger/pointed in reprimand or shame”

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