Essay 3: What is a Nation?
A nation, as defined in Webster’s Universal College Dictionary, is “a body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own.” This definition is correct, but leaves so much unsaid. The word nation is actually derived from the Latin word natio that means birth. It represents the beginning of something. London had a miraculous “birth” in the year 0. This corresponds to the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus. When people speak of “country (nation) matters”, another Latin term comes into play, with matter meaning mother. A country must have a mother as a mother gives birth, which links back to a nation meaning birth. Now that the definition and meaning ...view middle of the document...
People who do not belong in a nation are those who do not possess the same elements above with anyone. For example, in Beowulf, Grendel and his mother did not have a nation and were therefore, angry with those who did. They were on the outside looking in and because of this outcast feeling, were angry. Grendel was even angrier because he was still living with his mother. They are roamers who do not belong anywhere. This can also be linked to the dragon and the Spear Danes not being a part of a nation, either, at the beginning.
National identity is always linked to religious identity, as well. Although the United States has many different religions, they are all legal practices here. Other countries may have another, different religion, which is why the people live, and are a part of that nation. We are born into a nation, and therefore are molded in a certain way and our beliefs lean toward what we are taught. With these shared beliefs, we share a common interest with others which is another aspect that makes people part of a nation.
A nation is represented in many of the works we have read, not always being positive, however. In The Wife of Bath, Julian of Norwich, and Margery Kempe, women are underrepresented and struggle to gain a place in society. Although they are a part of the same nation as the men, they are not treated the same. Although people of a nation share documents, ideology, and language, conflicts do arise. It is not until something horrifying happens, though, that a nation realizes how petty these are and come together. This can be compared with the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. People came together and supported each other like never before. This is the unity that makes others who do not belong jealous and angry.