A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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EPISODE 25: The Boatswain
Directed by Janko Virant

SYNOPSIS

Recently arrived Serbian poet, Radovan Gajic, is the superintendent and community leader of two high-rise apartment buildings in Toronto. The buildings are a magnet for other Serbian immigrants.


KEY IDEAS

  • Community co-operation
  • Cultural leadership
  • Collective experience and voice

KEY TERMS

  • Serbia
  • Yugoslavia
  • Balkans
  • Ethnic War
  • Diaspora

OBJECTIVES

  • To appreciate Radovan Gajic’s role as the backbone of a small community of Serbian Canadians
  • To comprehend the role of the writer in deciphering the immigrant’s adjustment and self expression
  • To be aware of the living history of ethnic war which has driven various ethnic groups out of their homeland in the Balkans


STUDENT ACTIVITIES

  1. Discuss as a class what writer Radovan Gajic means when he says, “I belong only to the great nation of word”.

  2. Research the history of ethnic and religious arguments that led to the war in the former Yugoslavia. Compare it to the history of ethnic struggles in two other nations, perhaps English and French Canada; England and pre-republican Ireland; Sikh and Hindu India. List the differences and similarities of each region according to: grievances claimed by each group, aggressive actions, attempts at peace, legal action, ultimate outcomes.

  3. Go to the Scattering of Seeds website (www.whitepinepictures.com) and look up the section on The Boatswain where there is an excerpt of Radovan Gajic’s poetry from The Hostage of T. City. Give a visual interpretation of your impressions by drawing, painting or creating a collage of images that the poem evokes in your imagination.

  4. Imagine you are an immigrant in a country that has a different language, culture, religion than your own. Write an essay describing your experiences as an outsider; all the ways that you are different, all the things you must learn and adjust to in order to fit into a new way of life.

  5. Write a poem using the imagery of a garden and seeds as a metaphor for the immigrant experience in Canada.