Thomas King’s “Borders”, written in 1993, is a short fiction story showing an indirect characterization about Mother. The story allows the reader to understand the difficulties Mother encounters, of not disclosing the citizenship of the country she belongs to. However, taking the pride, of showcasing the cultural identity as ‘Blackfoot’. Identically overcomes the various difficulties faced during that phase of life. This short story explains the pride that Mother takes for being a ‘Blackfoot’.
The theme of the story is set to be misread/misidentified and is an irony showing the conflicts between identity and the belonging love. The beginning of the story tells that it is rare for young women to leave the reserve for no reason, “She had not, as my Mother liked…hadn’t been pregnant”. It tells that, young girls usually leave if they’re after some boy, or if they’re pregnant. It’s not common for someone to simply leave, because Letitia found a job. The story is about a Mother who wants to meet her daughter staying in the Salt Lake City in the U.S. The main setting of the story is at the U.S. border where Mother is questioned and is refused an entry into the U.S. because of not disclosing her citizenship.
The Mother is considered to be the cause of conflicts in “Borders”. She is a very stubborn lady with a narrow thinking concerning to the things other than her native community. She doesn’t state that whether she is a Canadian or an American while struggling to cross the border, in this way starting an argument with the border guards. With a number of tries by the border guards, the Mother has a fixed single answer for her identity i.e “Blackfoot”.
Mother is portrayed as a protagonist. It isn’t specifically expressed in the story, yet the story pushes further and explains that the Mother, wants to meet her daughter in the Salt Lake City in the U.S., driving to the U.S. border, the Mother is asked over and again by the border guards, yet she doesn’t disclose her citizenship and rather tells them that she is a “Blackfoot” and her daughter in the U.S is a “Blackfoot” as well. The time, when asking her more than once about her citizenship, to one point explains that Mother is stubborn and tough.
The author in a conversation with Stella, tells her “We were Blackfoot and Canadian”. But the author is not counted because he is a “Minor”. The author is a child who is unreliable. Stella tells the author that, if Mother doesn’t disclose her citizenship, they will have to return to where they came from. Mother being stubborn and tough, refuses to reveal the citizenship and turns to the car and drove back to the Canadian border.
Driving back to the Canadian border, Mother is inquired the same way as the U.S. border. Mother says she’s not an American or a Canadian but a “Blackfoot”. The Round character in this story is Mother because she is proud about her native community. From those points of attention. The first three guards are from America, and none of them shows sympathy or consideration to Mother, yet the fourth one who is from Canada does. Some of the TV people were at the border and talked to Mother after which at some point late, Mother was allowed to enter the U.S..
Letitia assumes that the Salt Lake City was “One of the natural wonders of the world”. Her attitude towards Blackfoot changes, after she saw her mother’s story at the border on TV, she feels so proud of her mom that she wants to hear the story over and over; even better, she tells her mother that she is thinking about moving back to Blackfoot.
Mothers are a symbol of love, care, strength and hope, but one does not know the care and love, what a Mother expresses. The Mother is loyal to her native community. She stayed faithful to the reserve, until the guards lastly let her cross the border. In the story “Borders” by Thomas King, pride is a quality that can be developed in a character and its belief is to protect the pride and give equality to every community.
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