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What is the author's overall opinion of Canada as a country?CONSIDER THE LAST LINE OF...

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parm | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 17, 2011 at 9:07 AM via web

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What is the author's overall opinion of Canada as a country?

CONSIDER THE LAST LINE OF THE POEM

1This is the case of a high-school land, 2deadset in adolescence; 3loud treble laughs and sudden fists, 4bright cheeks, the gangling presence. 5This boy is wonderful at sports 6and physically quite healthy; 7he's taken to church on Sunday still 8and keeps his prurience stealthy. 9He doesn't like books, except about bears, 10collects new coins and model planes, 11and never refuses a dare. 12His Uncle spoils him with candy, of course, 13yet shouts him down when he talks at table. 14You will note he's got some of his French mother's looks, 15though he's not so witty and no more stable. 16He's really much more like his father and yet 17if you say so he'll pull a great face. 18He wants to be different from everyone else 19and daydreams of winning the global race. 20Parents unmarried and living abroad, 21relatives keen to bag the estate, 22schizophrenia not excluded, 23will he learn to grow up before it's too late?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:16 PM (Answer #1)

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In this poem, Birney seems to have a very negative view of his country.  He sees it as a country that is not really all that significant.  It is overshadowed by its parents (England) and especially by its uncle (the United States).  Canada is like an adolescent -- it is not yet adult and has not yet figured out who it is or what it wants to be.  It wants many things, some of which are incompatible with each other.

Birney does not say that there is anything actually bad about Canada.  It's not a country that has become something evil or something chaotic.  It's just that Canada has not found its place in the world.  It is ambivalent about what it wants to be.  Does it want to win the global race or does it want to avoid being like its father?  It is still a schizophrenic country and it needs to find an identity.

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