Angela Ho, 11
The poem “Canada: Case History” by Earle Birney is about a teenage boy and his troubles, but when the whole poem is seen as a metaphor, it is about Canada. Canada might be seen as the perfect country, but it still has its problems. “Schizophrenia not excluded” (Line
23) This explains that Canada, like teenage boys, have their own personal problems on the inside, whether it be mental or physical problems. However, physical problems still occur with teenagers, most often concerning their looks, or how they are seen. Canada does not want to be seen like its parents. “You’ll note he’s some of his French mother’s looks / though he’s not so witty and no more stable / He’s really much more like his father and yet / if you say so he’ll pull a great face” (Line 1418) Even though Canada is the “offspring” of England and France,
Canadians tend to “pull a great face” if you say they are British or French, and Canadians often do not want to be seen that way. Most of them want Canada to be seen as the independent country it is, much like a teenager would see himself as an individual, rather than the offspring of his parents. Therefore, Canada wants to be seen as unique. Another way of being unique is being different. Canada, like the average teen boy, is different from the other countries. “He wants to be different from everyone else / and day dreams of winning the global race” (Line 1920) This line explains that Canada is not only different because Canada is culturally diverse and more peaceful than most, but it also explains the hopes that boys have when they are younger; Much like how Canada has high hopes for world peace. All the points above prove the poem is a metaphor comparing Canada to a teenage boy.