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The Difficulties Of Borders Between Canada And Us

1057 words - 4 pages

Your Citizenship please? At a point in time, people encounter this question when you are about to cross the border into a different country, whether it is by car, train or plane. It questions one’s identity as to who they are. Most people answer with the current country they live in but does one ever answer with the country that they were from? “Borders” by Thomas King, is an intriguing story about a mother that has pride in her culture and values where she comes from. Along with her two kids, she resides in a native community. The mother has to declare her citizenship at the border, where she persistently presents herself as “Blackfoot.” The story, “Borders”, illustrates how difficult it is for Aboriginals to maintain their cultural identities in contemporary times. The mother and the daughter have several cultural differences as the mother, who displays extremely strong values and feelings towards her culture while her daughter, Laetitia wants to explore outside of her reserve. There is an imaginary line that King refers to is an additional obstacle that impedes on their culture. They have to respect the border but still maintain their culture. The obstacle that the imaginary line creates a political alliance which adds to their cultural values. Lastly, the title “Borders” itself, is very symbolic and play a significant role in the theme. The title intrigues the reader and identifies an idea that is central to the theme of the story.
The mother and daughter appear to be very different in the story. The mother is very proud of her native heritage and is not pleased when her daughter brings up her plan to move. “Laetitia had not left home with my mother’s blessing…” (King, 133) The mother creates chaos because she has too much pride to point out whether she is Canadian or American. “Pride was a good thing to have, you know, Laetitia had a lot of pride, so did my mother.” (King, 140) Both the mother and daughter have pride. The mother carries her pride for her family, culture and her heritage. When Laetitia and her mother are saying their good byes at the border, her mother tries one last time to remind her about the reserve and how you would not need to go anywhere else when you have everything on the reserve but also the different languages that were spoken in this phrase. “You can still see the mountains from here”, my mother told Laetitia in Blackfoot. “Lots of mountains in Salt Lake,” Laetitia told her in English.” Here the mother is speaking in her native tongue, while Laetitia is just talking in English, another example of how the mother brings about her culture. The mother identifies herself as Blackfoot as she keeps going back and forth to the borders. She clearly refuses to adopt the nationality of either a Canadian or an American, rather claiming on her Blackfoot status as a person who belongs in both countries. The mother seems to defy the border officials also as a lesson to teach her son about her Blackfoot identity and values....

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