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ENG 101- Border Crossing

Aug 10, 2023

Choose a selection from the Crossing Borders unit. Write a short explanation of how individuals in the selection are affected by border crossing. Use examples or details to support your answer

Border Crossing

‘Borders’ by Thomas King is an intimate study of Identity and this story is told from the perspective of the son, but there is absolutely no doubt regarding the fact, that the story lives and breathes in the mother. The border-crossing for the Mother turns out to be validation of her principles for which she is subtly mocked.  Every character in the story, even minor ones like Stella has been graced with names, except the mother and son, because Thomas King wanted to add a touch of universality to it. Mainstream media has tried with its efforts to desensitize and mock the emotions of ‘Indians’, by publicizing their concerns as meaningless, and not akin to the modern world. Through the character of the mother and the dignity she is imbibed with, King makes it efficiently clear that these concerns are not foolish at all, and are actually a shared dilemma of many people. The mother is open about her desire to hold on to her native identity, while the son pays no heed to it and Leticia actively tries to disregard it by moving to America, but as the story comes to a close both of them experience a pull to that native identity. The Mother from the very beginning is proud of their identity and unwilling to digress from it, even with the hardships. The reason the son is not given a name is because the discomfort displayed by him is also a large-scale effect. The son wasn’t able to understand her mother’s reluctance at crossing the borders, by proclaiming herself as a Canadian citizen. For the mother traveling through the border by becoming a Canadian is not just a journey, but a compromise with her closely held values. In the story, it becomes clear that the Mother’s reluctance is not only because of her pride but also due to her heritage. In the car, as she relates the stories about the stars to her son, she is also trying to share the culture that she has garnered from her own mother. If there is any desperation in the narrative, it is in the mother’s efforts to safeguard her nativity. At every turn whenever someone appreciates an outer element like “This is Liberty Park. It’s got a zoo. There’s good skiing in the mountains. (King, 2021)” the mother retorts by saying “Got all the skiing we can use “. At a point in the story it almost seems like an unnecessary reaction, but eventually, her madly held opinions, become true, when both Leticia and the son realize that things are better in their home. The fact that people come to appreciate her efforts, increases the reader’s belief as well as the characters’ faith in the satisfaction she practices in her identification.


King, T. (2021). Borders. Little, Brown Ink.

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