Belonging in society - How have the texts Migrant Hostel, 10 Mary Street, Matilda and Dorothy Counts shaped your understanding of belonging in society?

Essay by james_huangHigh School, 12th gradeB+, December 2008

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Humans have the unique position to belong or not belong. Belonging is the concept that separates us from complete isolation. Above all others, the purpose of our question is to reveal how our knowledge on belonging has been broadened with the study of four texts. As such, the study the photograph of Dorothy Counts taken in the 1960s during the time of the Civil Rights Movement in America, the film Matilda directed by Danny DeVito, two literary texts of Migrant Hostel and 10 Mary Street by Peter Skrzynecki, leads us in the hope of revealing an answer or at least create a better understanding of belonging within our society.

The poem Migrant Hostel tells us of the experience that the migrants have gone through and the situation of their lives since they have migrated to Australia. The poem begins with a rather melancholy tone: “No one kept count of all the comings and goings”.

The tone is rather depressing depicting the image of the anonymity of the migrants being clumped together and is in a state of flux. The representation clearly reveals that the newcomers are in a sense of confusion not belonging to their surroundings.

The pigeons act as symbol for how the migrants are acting. The simile of, “like a homing pigeon circling to get its bearings” represents the migrants were all circling around trying to find something familiar that they could relate to. The migrants kept moving from person to person until they finally found someone whom they had similarities with. The example shown relates to the migrants feeling a sense of belonging as they find their way to people in their surroundings who share common similarities.

The migrants “lived like birds of passage – always sensing a change” reveals that the migrants follow instinctively knowing that...