Do contending nationalist loyalties create conflict for you? The students responding to this question are Amanthi, who lives in Edson and whose parents immigrated from Sri Lanka; Blair, who lives in Edmonton and whose heritage is Ukrainian, Scottish, and German; and Rick, who was born in the United States but moved to Fort McMurray with his family when he was 10. Amanthi: "Yes, they do. My mother is the Canadian patriot in the family. At our house, Mum seems to want to decorate everything to be as Canadian' as she can make it. My dad couldn't care less. He spends his evenings glued to his computer. He was a police officer in Sri Lanka, and he still sends emails to his old pals every night. My parents argue about how much time he spends on the computer—and about how much she spends on redecorating. But I think their arguments are really about their changing nationalist loyalties." Blair: "My loyalty is to Canada—100 percent. My heritage is a bit of a mixed bag. I have Scottish, German, and Ukrainian ancestors. Some were farm folk, but most of them lived and died right here in Strathcona. At World Cup time, I might root for Scotland or Germany because of family ties, but if a Canadian team ever made the tournament, l'd be decked out in red and white for sure." Rick: "Contending loyalties? Are you kidding? I grew up in the United States. Every Fourth of July, my family draped a big flag across the porch railing. We were good Americans—and we weren't embarrassed to show it. Now I'm a dual citizen: Canadian and American. Which comes first? Sometimes, I'm not sure. There are lots of great things about Canada. But it really bugs me when my friends slag Americans for the war in Iraq. I'm always explaining that there are just as many points of view on war and terrorism in the United States as there are in Canada. So, yeah, sometimes it's hard to separate my feelings for my birth country and my adopted country." Please explore the perspectives of the three teenagers. Use examples about how their contending nationalist loyalties affect their outlook on the world. Include comparison examples and/or your own examples. Provide your opinion, stating whether or not contending nationalist loyalties create conflict.

Contending nationalist loyalties seem to create different levels of conflict in different people. An analysis of the examples provided shows, for example, that Amanthi's parents have taken extremely different approaches to their new life.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think contending nationalist loyalties will create intense conflict for some people, while far less for others. There are various personality-related factors which play into this, such as how introverted or extroverted you are. In addition, a family forced out of their home country is likely to struggle to assimilate...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

I think contending nationalist loyalties will create intense conflict for some people, while far less for others. There are various personality-related factors which play into this, such as how introverted or extroverted you are. In addition, a family forced out of their home country is likely to struggle to assimilate into a new culture, whereas a family who chose to pursue a new life may find it far easier.

Look, for example, at the differences between Amanthi’s parents. Her mother has fully embraced life in Canada, while her father clearly still misses his friends back home.

Blair seems to be an example of a slight conflict being created by contending nationalist loyalties. While she considers herself to be fully Canadian, she admits that if Canada were not participating in a sports tournament, she’d be supporting Germany or Scotland. However, she is very clear of where her loyalties lie—with Canada.

For Rick, who has moved from the US to Canada, things seem to be a little tougher. It is obvious that he misses the American traditions, and he freely admits that it is “hard to separate his feelings.” In Rick’s case, contending nationalist loyalties definitely play a role in his life.

To provide an example from my own life, my family emigrated to Australia from South Africa some years ago. I joined them from a time, and found the contending nationalist loyalties extremely difficult. Even though South African and Australian cultures are similar, I can tell you from personal experience that it is extremely difficult to say goodbye to your own cultural traditions and heritage.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team