Search for Identity in "Canadian Experience" Analytical Essay by grhine

Analysis of Austin Clarke's short story "Canadian Experience."
# 150812 | 2,358 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2010 | CA
Published on Apr 25, 2012 in English (Argument) , English (Analysis) , Literature (Canadian)

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This paper examines the various themes in Austin Clarke's short story "Canadian Experience." According to the paper, the short story details the life of George, a native Barbadian living in Canada who is unfamiliar with the culture and suffers from isolation and lack of personal identity. First, the paper analyzes the family influences and pressures that helped to shape George's current predicament. Then, the paper explores the personalities of the main characters, and highlights their interactions with Canadians in downtown Toronto. These interactions include George's experiences with frustration based on class difference, stereotyping, and discrimination. Various examples are cited from the text. Next, the essay focuses on George's negative state of mind and subsequent unhappiness, both in relation to society and cultural pressures, and also his rejection of all things "Canadian." Throughout the paper, the struggles associated with being an immigrant in a new country are highlighted, and the main character's debilitating isolation is further explored.

From the Paper:

"Given that family influence is a tremendously strong factor in the development of one's sense of self and often impacts everyday decisions, it is fitting to first look at the ways in which family pressures and interactions shaped the life of George in "Canadian Experience," and then focus on the ways in which they played a role in shaping his character's identity, or lack thereof. George's family is not mentioned until his tale of strife as a non-native Canadian in Toronto is well underway, but that does not detract from the significance the memories of his homeland, Barbados, and his family have on his mental state and way of viewing his current situation. As George reflects on his current situation, jobless and unable to muster up the courage to attend a job interview, he thinks of the life he could have had back in Barbados, and recalls the "well-preserved plantation house" that sits upon "two hundred and eighty acres of green sugar cane and corn" he is poised to inherit from his father, who argues that working on the land..."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Algoo-Baksh, Stella. "Austin C. Clarke's Short Fiction." Journal of West Indian Literature 12.1 (2004): n. pag. Literature Online. Web. 23 Feb. 2010.
  • Chariandy, David. "'That's what you want, isn't it?': Austin Clarke and the New Politics of Recognition." Journal of West Indian Literature 14.1 (2005): n. pag. Literature Online. Web. 23 Feb. 2010.
  • Clarke, Austin. "Canadian Experience." Choosing His Coffin: The Best Stories of Austin Clarke. Toronto, ON: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2003. 23-40. Print.
  • Clarke, Austin. "Austin Clarke in conversation." By Patricia Robertson. Wasafiri 18.40 (2003): 45-50. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.
  • Iyer, Pico. "Canada Global Citizen." The Active Reader: Strategies for Academic Reading and Writing. Ed. Eric Henderson. Oxford University Press, 2007. 273-78. Print.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Search for Identity in "Canadian Experience" (2012, April 25) Retrieved May 28, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Search for Identity in "Canadian Experience"" 25 April 2012. Web. 28 May. 2023. <>