“The Migrant” by A.L Hendriks illustrates the struggles of people without a home, people who move
from nation to nation without a home or security. The poem describes the journey and feelings of
woman as travels during her time as a migrant from place to place and her ever growing disdain
and reluctance to her perpetual state of movement. These feelings are revealed by a ambiguous
narrator(s) viewing the development of her feelings and her continuing journey, and these narrators
convey their observations through strongly connotative words which convey her longing of a place
to call home, her sadness at the beginning of her journey and finally the speaker shows her true
attitude through metaphor.
The poem begins with the narrator introducing the speaker concerned who is about to become a
migrant but unbeknown to her, however currently in a place where she feels comfortable to call
home. It is said by the narrator that she felt “rooted and securely settled” in her current situation,
the narrator showing to the reader that this a place where she felt safe and the only place she
knew to call home, and this strongly suggests that she has a desire to have a place to feel settled
and this is important as it shows that she has no desire to move, and contrasts strongly to the
eventual realisation that she is however soon to become a migrant. By including this almost tease
of a place of security and homeliness the narrator shows that the speaker concerned has no wish
to move due to connotations provided by how it is described how she felt about her current
destination, and creates the effect that she is unlikely to react well to migration.
The poem reaches a turning point when the narrator reveals that the speaker has suddenly
become aware of her impending journey away from her current place of security and safety.
Hear the narrator conveys strongly that her attitude to migration is that one of fear, that dread her
inevitable movement, and this sense of inevitability is conveyed through lines nine to eleven, where
the lines describing movement in various different ways have a compounding effect, as she was
“committed to continue elsewhere,” adding to this sense of hopelessness and committed implying
that she does not have much choice in the matter. Through this compounding effect of the
structure of the sentences it leads onto the narrator describing her fear at moving, as when time
grew closer the “slow realisation sharpened,” conveying that this new reality to her was shocking
and offensive to her, as it was “sharp,” and in her desperation made futile plans to “postpone her
departure”. Through the inclusion of the structure of the sentence compounding on one another
that is almost overwhelming, shows that she truly feared her impending migration, and was
desperate to postpone something that the narrator knew was inevitable and committed to.
The speaker conveys her final attitude towards migration through her parting words which are
strongly emotive conveying her true apprehension to travel and disillusionment at her being bound
to travel. As the time for her to move moves closer she is “dreading the boarding announcements”
shows her sadness and once again fear of moving, and makes the reader think that will she ever
find again a place to call home, or is she bound to a life of movement from now onwards. Through
contrasting these very last final “fearful and unutterable lonely moments” to her initial feelings of
happiness and welcome in the place she felt as a home, shows strongly that the speaker in just
about all ways hold a negative attitude towards migration, fearing it and making futile attempts to
postpone her inevitable journey.
Hendriks has evolved the speakers emotion through the course of the poem to show the speakers
attitude towards migration, that she does not wish to move from her initial place of security and
welcome, and truely feels dread that she must leave, and the mystery of her destination and if she
ever will again find a place to call home having an overwhelming effect of inevitability and
hopelessness on her. Through the structure of the sentences creating the compounding effect,
strong emotive language and strongly contrasting of the the teaser of home her tangible sharp fear
of migration, the speaker's negative attitude and disillusionment towards migration is conveyed
poignantly to the reader.