These three students share very different examples of cultural backgrounds, and the amount of conflict that nationalist loyalties create would vary greatly considering their circumstances. We'll look at them one by one to see how their backgrounds influence their worldviews, and then you can use their stories to help you...
These three students share very different examples of cultural backgrounds, and the amount of conflict that nationalist loyalties create would vary greatly considering their circumstances. We'll look at them one by one to see how their backgrounds influence their worldviews, and then you can use their stories to help you form your own opinion on how nationalistic and cultural concerns create conflicts of identity.
Amanthi does not specify whether she was born in Canada or Sri Lanka, but it is clear that her parents are first generation immigrants to North America. Her mother is enthusiastic about her new homeland, while her father seems to pay more attention to the connections in his past. This is an example of a family moving from a country on the Indian Subcontinent with deep and unique cultural values to another country whose people have vastly different backgrounds and perspectives. It's amazing, in fact, that her mother seems to have adapted so quickly. Many immigrants to Canada or the United States who come from such rich cultural backgrounds cannot help but feel conflicted, and they often maintain very close ties with relatives and friends in the countries from which they came.
Excellent examples of this clash in cultures can be found in the novels and stories of the Pulitzer-prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. Her parents were originally from West Bengal in India, moved briefly to London, and then immigrated to Rhode Island on the east coast of the United States when Jhumpa was only three years old. Although she grew up in America, her family retained many customs of their former homeland and made frequent visits to Calcutta to see relatives. Lahiri writes of the deep cultural conflict that immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent go through in her books Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake. There is an excellent movie version of The Namesake that you might want to watch to get an idea of the cultural conflicts Amanthi might be going through.
Blair's situation is much different than Amanthi's. His background is a mix of western and eastern European cultures, which is the same as many if not most white North Americans living in Canada or the United States. It is mentioned that his heritage is Ukrainian, Scottish, and German, but it does not specify how long ago his ancestors immigrated to Canada from Europe. As he mentions, he has no real reason to experience any sort of cultural clash.
As Rick mentions, he is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. This situation inherently causes certain legal and political conflicts in matters of taxation or loyalties in the event of differences between the two countries. However, many people successfully carry dual citizenship while embracing the cultures of both countries. There is no real reason for cultural clashes when you can have both.
An example of a famous celebrity who has dual Canadian and United States citizenship is Jim Carrey. He has no desire to relinquish his Canadian heritage, but at the same time he appreciates the advantages that U.S. citizenship offers. Other examples of celebrities who maintain dual citizenships are the James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, who is a citizen of Ireland and the United States, and Natalie Portman, who is a citizen of Israel and the United States. Rich mentions that sometimes he finds it difficult to separate his feelings for his birth country and his adopted country, but in the long term, he'll probably find that through his dual citizenship he actually gets the best of both worlds.
We see, then, that Amanthi, Blair, and Rick all have extremely different backgrounds. These various backgrounds shape their reactions to the nation and culture in which they now live.