Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Living Within the Story

Thomas King’s short story, Borders, offers a voice unique to the class so far: that of a child. The reader is offered only slight insight into the actual occurrences in the story because the child is too naïve to fully realize the significance of the different tensions in order to relay them to the reader. However, because the story is much more immanent to American – and Canadian – readers, Borders is much more than an exercise in narrative voice. Instead, as the reader fills in the gaps and adds depth to the details, he/ she becomes intimately a part of the story and experiences it as if living it.

Many of the scenes are skimmed over by the narrator with little insight. The child is aware enough to recognize things like the stress between her mother and Laetitia or the resistance of her mother towards the border patrol. However, most of these incidents are given with very little detail, and the details that are given are normally vague. So, when the reader engages the text and connects the dots, he/ she is enlightened as to the deeper meaning of the text and cultural intricacies.

But, the perspective the reader comes away with is colored by his/ her own prejudices and experiences. Depending on the person, the mother may be seen as either over-bearing and stuck in the past or wise and loyal. Also, the border patrol may just be doing their jobs or committing acts of light racism as developed by the system. Consequently, the reader doesn’t just fill in the details left out by the naïve child but engages with the story, entering it and reacting as if part of the action.

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