Writing the Self Analysis: Looking for Normative Narratives
i) search for and identify normative narratives operating in your own lives. What normative narratives are present and reproduced in the selected self stories?
The blog posts I found similar to myself are the stories about normative narratives of being Canadian were from Nolan and Reece. Nolan wrote a very insightful blog post that put his love of hockey into words. Reece wrote a blog post about being a hockey sibling and growing up in the rink. These two self stories allowed me to understand my peers at a deeper level and discuss the normative narratives around hockey within Canada. Both Nolan and Reece’s self stories had components I related to. I believe hockey is a huge part of Canada’s identity. The hockey family is a feeling of love, passion, and teamwork.
Reece wrote a very detailed self-story of the life of a hockey sibling. Throughout my life I played competitive hockey but, I was also a hockey sister. Reece shared: “We all stood in the lobby of the rink, with some of the players now standing with us.” This line made me relate to my self-story of being surrounded by the hockey families in the rink watching the World Junior game. Reece’s self-story is how he wanted to leave the rink. We both shared the ideas about hockey when we were told to think about what makes us Canadian. I think it’s very interesting to see that Reece, Nolan and myself all had hockey about what makes us feel Canadian. Although we all thought about hockey when asked what makes us feel Canadian we had different yet similar stories.
I was very intrigued by Nolan’s blog post, as we have been friends for years. Nolan and I grew up together in the rink. Nolan and I both related to hockey through our blog posts regarding what makes us Canadian. When Nolan described the Heritage Classic hockey game, he shared that “I was a fan of neither of these teams, but I was a Canadian and I knew this was a once in a lifetime experience to watch.” This quote was interesting to me because many people, myself included, assume that all Canadians are hockey fans. Nolan’s self-story illustrated the production of normative narratives through hockey. Hockey is an activity that many Canadians relate to. Hockey is a part of what Canada is. Nolan’s story focuses on a certain Canadian hockey event that was memorable for him. My self-story on being Canadian was similar therefore I related to Nolan’s feelings. Hockey has become a perpetuation for Canada as it can be seen as therapeutic. In Nolan’s blog post he quotes, “In a sold-out crowd watching two Canadian teams play a sport Canadians call as theirs, while the weather is typical freezing cold Canadian weather, drinking Tim Horton's hot chocolate, what is more, Canadian than that?” This quote is stereotypically Canadian and I believe stereotypes continue with hockey in Canada. Not all Canadians love hockey. Stereotypes have made others think that all Canadians are die-hard hockey fans which we know is not true. The stereotype of being Canadian and loving hockey is seen worldwide and has become a normality for people within Canada. Nolan, Reece and I all had stories that represented the stereotypes of Canada. Hockey, cold weather, and of course Tim Hortons. All Canadians loving hockey is a myth but, as Canadians, we must recognize how hockey has impacted Canada.
ii) practice placing differing stories side-by-side, not to merely contrast them, but for a contrasting effect. How might certain stories work to disrupt normative narratives? How might some stories silence other stories? How might it be possible for differing stories to be ‘true’?
I chose to use Apple’s self-story to show a representation of disrupting normative narratives. Apple’s idea of what makes one Canadian was very different from the other self-stories I had chosen and my own. Her outlook on Canadian society was not hockey. Her experiences in Canada was her culture shock once moving to Canada to study abroad. Hockey or any other Canadian stereotypical aspects were not included in her self-story. This was interesting to me because I visualize people from other cultures expecting to see Canadians riding polar bears to work, die-hard hockey fans, igloos for homes due to stereotypes. It was refreshing reading Apple’s blog post and very interesting to get a new perspective of what Canada is like moving from somewhere else in our world. Apple’s perspective of a Canadian lifestyle disrupts the normative narratives around Canadian society. Apple’s self-story can silence other stories because of the imagery she rights. Her story paints a clear picture in your mind to allow one to walk a day in her shoes. Apple’s story allowed me to see my self-story in a different light.
Stanley’s article states, “Canadians, in fact, do not have a common history, and no single narrative will ever make it so” (2002, p.15). This quote stood out to me through course reading thus far because of its reality. I have been in the mindset that all Canadians are the same. This quote explains that not all Canadians have a similar background and connections of events or stories will not make us any more similar. We are all unique in our way. Apple’s self-story allowed me to dig deeper into what being Canadian means to me. Personally, when I think of Canada I think of the stereotypical aspects. I think of the weather, hockey, Tim Hortons, friendly people, polar bears, and so many more. After contrasting these self-stories, I believe it’s important to recognize the diversity within society. There is distinct multiculturalism in Canada that I hope to continue to learn about through new experiences and University. The normative narratives of Canada are just another piece of the mosaic of our beautiful country.