Analysis Of Thomas King 's Borders, The Young Boy And His Sister

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Generational gaps exist amongst all cultures. Some however, are more detrimental than others. In Thomas King’s Borders, the young boy and his sister when compared to their mother reveals a striking example of not only a generational gap, but a cultural gap between newer generations of First Nations Peoples and their parents. Borders clearly emphasizes the influence that Western society and culture has on young Aboriginal Canadians not only in terms of tradition, but Aboriginal identity as well. The degree in which Aboriginal identity is explored within King’s short story is bold, yet contains subtleties pertaining to the mindset of the younger generation. While identity on the mothers behalf is clear and unaltered by societal…show more content…
His young age brings about the argument that he simply isn’t old enough to understand his own heritage and the value that his culture holds. However, there are several points within the story that highlight the generational differences in values. For one, the mothers irrepressible demeanour. Most apparent during confrontations at the Couttes border, King paints a true picture of what it means to be proud of who you are, regardless of the ongoing influences of Western society and culture. Her repeated claim of a Blackfoot citizenship, regardless of the resulting delays, shows that she will not give up the most important thing to her; Identity. The mothers portrayal of Aboriginal dignity is also apparent through the subtle convincing of her daughter to stay on the reserve. Aboriginal identity is not just about tradition and language, but about place. In a study conducted by Kathleen Wilson (2003) of McMaster University, an overwhelming percentage of the indigenous community claimed that “the land, as place, is an integral park of First Nations peoples identity and health”(p.83). With a long history of colonization and Western pressures, it’s no surprise that the mother wishes to keep her family close to the land they currently inhabit. Aboriginal identity of older generations is very much about reclaiming as much of your history and culture as possible, allowing it to continue and hopefully thrive.

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