Body ritual among the nacirema essay
He was, after all, a very English poet, and one can easily misinterpret the universal by misunderstanding body ritual among the nacirema essay the particular. I protested in vain. The party had started. ” I accepted a large calabash full of beer, poured some into a small drinking gourd, and tossed it down. One day I beth luey revising your dissertation crawled through the low doorway and found most of the men of the homestead sitting huddled in their ragged cloths on stools, low plank beds, and reclining chairs, warming themselves writing essay for scholarship application introduction against the chill of the rain around a smoky fire. By midmorning the whole homestead was singing, dancing, and drumming. Like the other elders of the vicinity, the old man spent most of his time performing ceremonies seldom seen these days in the more how to write a good term paper accessible parts of the tribe. ” “But,” put in one of the elders, “you must explain what we do not understand, as we do when we tell you our stories. Before the end of the second month, grace descended on me. They threatened to tell me body ritual among the nacirema essay no more stories until I told them one of mine. In the center were three pots of beer. I eventually settled on the hillock of a very knowledgeable old man, the head of a homestead of some hundred and forty people, all of whom were either his close relatives or their wives and children. Since my arrival, letters were brought to me to be read. ” Realizing that here was my chance to prove Hamlet universally intelligible, I agreed. Personal letters for the few who had relatives in the government or mission stations were kept until someone went to a large market where there was a letter writer and reader. Finally, the old man promised that no one would criticize my style, “for we know you are struggling body ritual among the nacirema essay with our language. I was quite sure that Hamlet had only one possible interpretation, and that one universally obvious. I was delighted. Early every morning, in the hope of having some serious talk before the beer party, I used to call on the old man at his reception hut—a circle of posts supporting a thatched roof above a low mud wall to keep out wind and rain. “Ah,” said the old man. Then I poured some more into the same gourd for the man second in seniority to my host before research paper writing service uk I handed my calabash over to a young man for further distribution. “Tell us. I was quite mistaken. People began to drink at dawn. ” I protested that I was not a storyteller. “Sit down and drink. A few men also brought me bride price receipts, privately, with requests to change the figures to a higher sum. When it rained, people had to sit inside their huts: there they drank and sang or they drank and told stories. One night three men were keeping watch outside the homestead of the great chief, when suddenly they saw the former chief approach them. It was my second field trip to that African tribe, body ritual among the nacirema essay and I thought myself ready to live in one of its remote sections—an area difficult to cross even on foot. Storytelling is a skilled art among them; their standards are high, and the audiences critical—and vocal in their criticism. Then, I thought, they would have even more time to perform ceremonies and explain them to me. “One does not discuss serious matters when there is beer. Soon there would be three months of enforced isolation and leisure, between the harvest that takes place just before the rising of the swamps and the clearing of new farms when the water goes down. ” I protested that human nature is body ritual among the nacirema essay pretty much the same the whole world over; at least the general plot and motivation of the greater tragedies would always be clear—everywhere—although some details of custom might have to be explained and difficulties of translation might produce other slight changes. Men filled their long wooden pipes and knocked coals from the fire to place in the pipe bowls; then, puffing contentedly, they sat back to listen. The women brewed beer from maize and millet. Come, drink with us. Men, women, and children sat on their hillocks and drank it. I found moral arguments were of no avail, since in-laws are fair game, and the technical hazards of forgery difficult to explain to an illiterate people. Most of the ceremonies demanded the presence of elders from several homesteads. I did not wish them to think me body ritual among the nacirema essay silly enough to look at any such papers for days on end, and I hastily explained that my “paper” was one of the “things of long ago” of my country. Important people shouldn’t ladle beer themselves. The old man greeted me cordially. ” Since I lacked their capacity for the thick native beer, I spent more and more time with Hamlet. ”. This morning they wanted to hear a story while they drank. In any case, by noon or before, I either had to join the party or retire to my own hut and my books. Just before I left Oxford for the Tiv in West Africa, conversation turned to the season at Stratford. “You Americans,” said a friend, “often have difficulty with Shakespeare. The old man was acquainted with four kinds of “papers”: tax receipts, bride price receipts, court fee receipts, and letters. The old man handed me some more beer to help me on with my storytelling. The messenger who brought him letters from the chief used them mainly as a badge of office, for he always knew what was in them and told the old man. To end an argument we could not conclude, my friend gave me a copy of Hamlet to study in the African bush: it would, he hoped, lift my mind above its primitive surroundings, and possibly I might, by prolonged meditation, achieve the grace of correct interpretation. As the swamps rose even higher, all activities but one came to an end. As the swamps rose, the old men found it too difficult to walk from one body ritual among the nacirema essay homestead to the next, and the ceremonies gradually ceased. I began in the proper style, “Not yesterday, not yesterday, but long ago, a thing occurred.