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Contemporary societies, although they claim tocare for the interests of minorities, impose a number of "borders" on individuals. Those individuals who stray from commonly accepted rules experience an immediate response. Thomas King's short story Borders narrates the author's childhood experience of crossing the US-Canadian border. When the author's mother is asked about her nationality, she calls herself a "blackfoot", demonstrating her pride in her Native American roots. She is not willing to be either "American" or "Canadian". Such a response was not on the list of theborder officials, so the family had to go back to the Canadian border. But when they reached the Canadian border, their response turned out not to be invalid as well, so they had to return to the US border. After several days between the two borders, they are finally let through the US border.

Major thesis statements:
1) The protagonist of the story is a seven-year-old boy who, despite his early age, becomes mature through his experience of crossing the US-Canadian border.
2) The author of the short story suggests that tolerance and acceptance should become two major values in contemporary Canadian society.
3) The short story Borders raises such serious political problems as poor entitlement to Indian statuse and the lack of common language between American and Canadian bureaucratic systems related to Native Americans.

Primary issues to discuss.
1) How does the boy perceive his mother and sister? How are their dialogues with the border securityofficials described?
2) What thoughts does the boy havewhen he stays in his car and visits a duty-free store?
3) How does the protagonist explain the restriction of crossing the border? Does he feel distressed?

Suggested readings.
1) King, T. "Borders". Saturday Night, 106.10 (1991): 58, 1991.
2) Kroller, E. "On Thomas King". Special issue, Canadian Literature, 28 (1999): 161-170.
3) Ortiz, A. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 10. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1983.

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'Borders' by Thomas King
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