Borders Essay

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In Thomas King’s “Borders” the borders are significant because they are created by pride. The borders are where the conflict of the story evolves. The word pride or versions of it are used often through the story pointing to its significance. The conflict that these prideful borders create, keep the character of the mother from achieving what she wants. The mother wants to cross into the United States to visit her daughter but cannot because she won’t claim American or Canadian citizenship. She wants her daughter to stay on the reserve and to have a good relationship but pride stops her from expressing her feelings and achieving this. The mothers pride in her culture creates a separation between herself, the border officials and her children. These borders are all because of the mother’s heritage, which she is not willing to give up. The mother and the children are of Blackfoot, Native American, decent. The mother shows that she has pride in their heritage by wanting to share it with her son. She does this by passing down the stories of their ancestors and hoping that they will continue; her son remembers that, “she was serious about it. She’d tell them slow, repeating parts as she went, as if she expected me to remember them” (225). She does not only want people to know what her heritage is but also what it isn’t. This concept is shown when the narrator and the mother are getting ready for their trip and he reports that he “had to dress up, too, for my mother did not want us crossing the border looking like Americans” (219). Now that the mothers pride in her heritage has been established she demonstrates this pride when she is asked to declare her citizenship and the borders are evidently shown. The characters have grown up in Canada and the children are of dual citizenship.

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