America and Canada are both distinguished countries, but what important factors separate and bring the two together? At first glance, America and Canada share many similarities because they are geographic neighbors. However, the two countries also have many differences as well. In Margaret Atwood’s, A View from Canada, she discusses her life growing up in Northern Quebec, Canada and how her experiences have impacted her perspective of America. Attwood’s taste of both worlds have brought her to the conclusion that both countries find a common ground amongst each other, while simultaneously allowing room to acknowledge their differences.
A lot of similarity in the school system corresponds within the two countries in terms of what is being taught. Atwood unveils similar traits between Canadian and American education when she talks about her exposure to public schools. She expresses in her essay, “Canadian history was the explorers and mostly brown and green, for all those trees. British history was kings and queens, and much more exciting, since you could use the silver and gold colored pencils for it” (Atwood 80). In the same degree, America’s well known European figure, Christopher Columbus, is introduced to American students as a very important explorer in American history. It is taught that Christopher Columbus is the figure who led Europe to the discovery of the Americas. Also, both America and Canada teach their students about great Britain and how it ruled over their territories by tyrant kings and queens, which also highlights the fact that America and Canada are both of European descent. The Canadians learned about how the Indians willingly gave up all of their land in exchange for the amenities of civilization, which can be looked at as a slightly fabricated story to lessen the discredit of a nation. America is no different. The teachings that slavery was not based on racism and was solely driven by an economic monster, is purposely taught to rationalize America’s wrong doing as well as protect its image. In a different light, one could also argue the two school systems are not alike in terms of Canadian schools not teaching Canadian patriotism. Atwood states that, “In public school we did not learn much about Americans, or Canadians either, for that matter” (80). American public schools have consistently made American history a staple in its education system. At a young age, American history is taught with a lot of emphasis to promote the desired attitude of patriotism. November of 2001, the Nebraska state board of education passed a patriotism bill that revised the content of history that was being taught in school. The board demanded that middle schools “should instill a love for the country, and that the social studies curriculum should include exploits and deeds of American heroes, singing patriotic songs, singing the star spangled banner, and American flag reverence” (Westheimer 608). The board of education demanding that students learn patriotism in school, is a primary example of how national pride is more relevant in American then it is in Canada.
It is safe to say that a good comparison can be established between Canada and America when it comes to common culture. Because America is such a monopoly and has a much larger population, America holds the power of influence. Over time, a lot of classic American characters have migrated from their original place of creation to Canada. Canadians soon became accustomed to American pop culture and its icons. Atwood writes, “When you were finished with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, you could always go on to Superman” (80). American comedian and radio personality, Jack Benny, spread his voice all the way to Canada so that they could tune in and enjoy their Sunday evening entertainment the same way Americans were accustomed to doing. When Atwood was growing up, she explains how television did not exist and instead, “There were, however, comic books,