1. What Nationality does Sandor want to be and why?
In the story “Under the Ribs of Death”, the protagonist Sandor Hunyadi is a Hungarian who immigrates to Canada with his family. As an immigrant living in an English community, Sandor is embittered by the social humiliation, which makes him want to cast off his Hungarian background and becomes Canadian.
Discrimination by the English is one of the reasons why Sandor wants to be Canadian. He hates who the English laugh at and make fun of his name, “people laugh when they hear me say our name. They say ‘how do you spell it?’ The lady in the library made fun of me in fronta all the people yesterday when I took your book back and she hadda make out a new card. And the school nurse…everybody …even the postman laughs.” (P. 17). Sandor also tires of people call him “Hunky Humpy” and “bologny-eater” and being a foreigner.
Although Sandor hates the English, but he also envies them, which is another reason why he wants to become Canadian. He envies how English get the better jobs, no one laugh at how they dress and talk and call them foreigners, “the only people who count are the English. Their fathers got all the best jobs. They’re he only ones nobody ever calls foreigners. Nobody ever makes fun of their names or calls them ‘bologny-eaters,’ or laughs at the way they dress or talk. Nobody.” (P.18). Sandor also feels bitter about his family living in poverty, eating bologny all time and wearing old and cheap clothes which his classmates at school laugh at, “We like eatin’ bologny every night for supper. Lookit my clothes. The English kids laugh at me in school.” (P.12). Sandor admires how English people able to have a better living condition.
Sandor’s envy toward the English and the discrimination from the English are the factors that make him ashamed of being Hungarian, he wants to cast off his background and changes his nationality to Canadian.