Borders: Narrator and Boy

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Narration has a profound effect on the interpretation of a story. This interpretation changes depending on whom the narrator is and whether they are involved in the story. In Thomas King’s short story “Borders”, a twelve-year-old boy recounts the experience he had with his mother crossing the United States border. As a result of a child narrating, it is easy to see the contrast between the boy and his mother, the ignorance by the government, and the compassion in the duty-free manager Mel. Using the boy as the narrator was important to the telling of “Borders” because it provided an honest, unbiased communication of the events that occur in the story. The contrast between the son and his mother is initially presented in “Borders” when they make their first attempt at crossing the US border. This contrast is displayed here through the importance each character possesses for their identity. It is clear that the son does not have the same stubborn approach to his identity at the border that his mother has: “It would have been easier if my mother had just said ‘Canadian’ and been done with it, but I could see she wasn’t going to do that,” (King 135). The boy’s compliant attitude and low importance of identity is stressed again when he and his mother are speaking with the Inspector Pratt. Again, the son is willing to relinquish his identity as a non-Canadian, against his mothers actions, in order to cross the border to see his older sister: “I told Stella that we were Canadian and Blackfoot, but she said it didn’t count because I was a minor,” (137). The boy’s attitude presented by Thomas King is very different from his mothers. The boy’s mother is biased and not compliant. When Inspector Pratt tells the mother “if [she] didn’t declare her citizenship, [she] would have to go back to where [she] came from,” she simply refuses to renounce where she stands on her citizenship (King 137). As a result of this, she “thanked Stella for her time … and drove back to...
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