Reflection on Borders

Throughout this course, my personal knowledge and opinion of borders has continuously grown and changed parallel to the multitude of literary works that was, and still is, presented to me. The little perspective I had on borders going into the class immediately proved to be inept and vague. However, even though the curriculum was centered solely on borders, forming a current concrete stance has remained impossible for me, due to the wide range and applications of borders, and the multiple stances that are created each time a barrier is constructed.

The various borders we (as a class) explore gives me the ability to derive further collective information each time. I am able to compare certain aspects of the respective borders to form a coherent analysis of the purpose of borders and whether or not individually the borders achieve that goal without the violation of ethics or the abusement of the local citizens.

Through analyzation of Toba Tek Singh, a short story regarding the assorted reactions to the India-Pakistan partition, the essential concept of the influence of borders on individual citizens and the confusion that directly results is introduced. This is later advanced by Omar, a film that follows a young man and his struggle with a physical barrier that separates him and the woman whom he loves. In V.S. Naipaul’s “East Indian”, colonization and its relationship with borders is introduced. Thus, reading literature from the borders proves to help our understanding about other issues.

The different forms of literature, ranging from novels to movies to poems, that the borders are presented in contribute to the messages in each. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria E. Anzaldúa, a novel about the culture centered around the U.S.-Mexico border, is comprised of historical facts, poems, and anecdotes, and written in a combination of English and Spanish. This contrasts vividly with A Small Place, a relatively straightforward piece in which the essay genre helps the author convey her opinion on borders without restrictions.

In conclusion, this course has been a unique, yet eye-opening experience. The various borders explored, ranging from those I had previous knowledge about (U.S.-Mexico), to relatively unheard of ones (Israel-Palestine) more than educated me. Rather, the class taught me how to dissect these borders, and determine the economic, social, and global repercussions. Most importantly, pieces such as these taught me that only after the border is examined from both sides of the wall can an accurate and unbiased opinion be formed.

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