“Individuals who undergo transitions into new experiences may encounter challenges but the outcome is transformative”. It portrays the ways in which individuals experience transitions into new phases of life and social contexts. These transitions may be challenging, confronting, exciting or transformative and may result in growth, change and a range of consequences for the individuals and others. We could see this through Personal Growth, Relationships, and Redemption. Transitioning from one phase in your life to another involves overcoming a range of obstacles and difficulties. This is clearly evident through the persona Billy, a young, disaffected teenager whose journey is explored through the poetry of Steven Herrick’s The Simple Gift. In his quest to escape from his unsatisfying life, he must overcome his doubt of authorities. However, in doing this, he is able to completely transform his way of thinking about the world.
The process of growing up is often fraught with difficulties and complex issues. This is true for Billy, the main voice in the poetry of Herrick. Through the medium of poetry, we gain snapshots of the difficulties of Billy’s life growing up, in particular the aggressive treatment he endured from his father. As Billy runs away from the home he describes through the expression ‘Nowheresville’, he reflects on the reasons he has for leaving. He recounts a time when he innocently broke a window practicing his soccer skills ‘alone’. His father’s violent reaction was to give Billy one hard backhander across the face’ which metaphorically ‘slammed the door’ on Billy’s childhood sporting dreams. This moment justifies in the mind of the reader why Billy makes the decisive move to leave Wentworth even though he is ‘sixteen, and soon to be homeless’. Additionally, he lacks a sense of direction which is reflected through the rhetorical questions, ‘To what? A coalfield lake?’ which reflect Billy’s confused mindset as he questions whether to jump on a Freight Train whose destination is completely unknown to him. Juxtaposition between his fathers “smelly unkept house” and his carriage shows us how Billy needed to move away from his father in order to find a home- “living in this carriage/ is special, its mine/ and I kept it clean/ and I read my self/ an education that Wentworth high/ never could”. “there are men like Ernie/and/there are other other men ,/men like my dad”. The enjambment of “and” onto its own line creates a clear contrast/distinction between other men and Billy”s dad, highlighting just how disconnected Billy is to his father. Billy keeps his father at a distance as he does not want to follow the same path.
Like Billy, the Immigrants have many difficulties growing up due to corruption throughout war and freedom within their environment. The poem “Crossing the red sea” by Peter Skrznecki, shows the circumstances had terrible repercussions on the development experiences of Emotional and Trauma through transitions. Emotional Development and trauma can be seen in the form of depression as the Skrzynecki family from the place they call home to an unknown land from war. This is very confronting and challenging for the migrants as they put the effort and the courage to travel places they call home. “To watch a sunset they would never see again”. Emotional Language/imagery, relation to emotional trauma and Skrzynecki journey using emotive language and the adverb “never” shows the heartbreak of the journey through transitions by encounting challenges in order to overcome the obstacles in one’s youth, individuals may have to undergo physical transitions in order to find their true place in the world. “That’s me, /on the deserted island/of a soft lounge/in Bendarat library”. Symbolism of the deserted island emphasises Billy’s place in society – that as a “hobo” he is outcasted as he does not live how society expects him to, yet in that there is a sense of freedom. His assertion of self through first person, “that’s me”, reinforces his freedom. “I’m poor, homeless/but I’m not stupid” is repeated to reinforce that he is asserting his identity despite his material state – the impact of his physical transition to Bendarat is that he has escaped his abusive environment and is able to see that what matters in life are emotional connections you make with others, rather than the material possessions you gain. The enjambment of “kissing and hugging”, isolated onto one line each, accentuates Billy’s desire for the emotional and physical connections as opposed to material objects.
For Billy, the journey from Wentworth the Bendarat becomes the catalyst for the transformation of his attitude towards adults. This is achieved through his encounter with Ernie, the driver of the freight train. A shift to Ernie’s perspective allows us to see his caring nature towards Billy seen through the colloquial language in his invitation to ‘Make a cuppa if you want’ and the simplicity of his instance that Billy ‘Keep warm’. The reader can see the positive effect this has on Billy’s outlook as he states, ‘There are men like Ernie and there are other men, men like my dad’. The diction of ‘other’ in his comparison highlights that Billy can now recognise that there are adults in the world who are capable of showing affection. As Billy alights from the train in Bendarat, he gifts Ernie a bottle of champagne he stole from his father is a dual symbol, a symbol of alcohol addiction. The inclusion of his note to Ernie which reads, ‘Thanks Ernie. Here’s a present to launch your boat’ shows Billy’s transformed thinking. With this new mindset, Billy enters into the world of Bendarat with a sense of hope for the future which is communicated through the symbolism of the weather with the ‘sun finally lifting the fog’. From this we understand that through the physical transition from his old home to this new town Billy acquires a renewed sense of self. “He walked back inside/and slammed the door/ on my sporting childhood”. Metaphor of slamming the door on Billy’s childhood through his aggressive actions. This is immediately juxtaposed with Billy’s observation of his dad “reading the paper/in front of the television/as if nothing/had happened”-this is juxtaposition shocks down the tempo, forcing the reader to acknowledge the harsh realities of Billy’s life. Which is the world he needs to transition away from; this makes us hate the father and emphasise with billy.
Transitions through journeys can be driven by aims of escaping to a better place, but the process itself is just as significant as it shapes the outlook of the traveller. In Crossing the Red Sea, the journey of the migrants from war-torn Europe is ironically also a standstill on the boat, forcing them to contemplate their past and present circumstances. The trip itself is a source of alleviation from emotional isolation, as shown in the metaphors “Voices left their caves | Silence fell from its shackles,” creating a tentative mood of hope and showing how the migrants are emotionally opening up. This sense of hope is reinforced in the Biblical allusion to resurrection in “Another Lazarus…who was saying a prayer in thanksgiving,” conveying the migrants’ hope and gratitude for a new start. Negatively, however, the migrants’ ‘limbo-like’ status is highlighted by the metaphor of “patches and shreds | of dialogue,” creating a negative tone which increases the sense of lost identity. Furthermore, the personification of nature in “pine tress whispering against a stone wall”, also a symbol of the migrant’s European heritage, creates a pensive, homesick mood. Despite this, the metaphor of “a blood-rimmed horizon,” generates an atmosphere of uncertainty and foreshadowing gestures of how the migrants move on from their old lives. Clearly, the destination is essential to the migrants’ dreams of a new beginning, but the journey itself facilitates a hopeful change in their outlook that is equally important. The swallows celebrating a birth symbolises Billy’s own rebirth after his transition from Bendarat Hilton to Wellington Road. Despite his love of Bendarat, we must accept that moving forward is a necessary part of personal growth. “Ahouse seems so…/so../so adult ” we must grow up, despite our reluctance is emphasise by the repetition of “so”. “A gentle breeze blowing through the fir tree” – assonance creates a sense of peace and tranquillity.
“Individuals who undergo transitions into new experiences may encounter challenges but the outcome is transformative. Therefore, we can clearly discern that people change as they encounter new experiences. In the prescribed text “Simple Gift” by Steven Herrick and through the related text “Crossing the red sea” by Peter Skrznecki. Explore transitions which emerge from the holistic bonds and connections, lesson of friendship and morality learned from these experiences. Both Billy and the immigrants expose the ways in which moving into a new world, whilst fraught with difficulties, provides individuals with the opportunity to transform their lives in ways they never thought possible when they were younger.