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Speech on jouneys: ‘Crossing the Red Sea’ by Peter Skrzynecki

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A journey can be considered as merely a movement from one place to another, but there are much deeper meanings conveyed in a journey. A physical journey also includes the experience along the way and what it teaches. Good morning teachers and fellow students. Through the text ‘Crossing the Red Sea’ by Peter Skrzynecki.

This text have helped effectively shape my understanding of physical journeys by developing empathy with the migrants in the poem, and the techniques and ideas incorporated in them have increased and developed my understanding.

The text ‘Crossing The Red Sea’ by Peter Skrzynecki catches the immigrants experience at a point between 2 worlds, as those on board leave their homelands and sail towards the new world. It gives insight to the community other than migrants about the emotional difficulties when migrating to another country. One of the poetic techniques used is the biblical allusion in the title “Crossing the Red Sea” This suggests the children of Israel are led out of bondage in Egypt by Moses, through the red sea, to the Promised Land. For the Skrzyneckis and their fellow passengers, leaving war-ravaged Europe, Australia was that Promised Land.

All physical journeys stir up mixed feelings of anticipation and insecurity; a longing for something new and exciting mixed with a reluctance to leave behind familiar things. This can be shown through the word choice such as ‘memories’ ‘secrets’ and ‘exiles’. Do you remember the first time you traveled any distance alone? On reading “Crossing the Red Sea” I realized that most people feel the same way, although the immigrant’s reactions were intensified because they had no hope.

Skrzynecki tells us each immigrant reacts differently to leaving their traumatic pasts of warfare, oppressions and slavery. They venture towards new lives in different ways and the dialogue, “Blood, leaves similar dark stains” show the different attitudes towards making the journey. Their experiences cannot be easily forgotten. This reflects the nostalgia and exposes the pain of the forced journey.

The physical journey of migration is sad and lonely and has a huge emotional impact on the traveler. Although difficult the journey has the potential to bring hope and a sense of optimism for the future, a passage to a new life. The use of personification “All night the kindness of the sea continued breaking up into walled up grief’s” shows the sea is present as an agent of healing, showing kindness to soften the pain along the journey.

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