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The Body Ritual Of The Nacirema

648 words - 3 pages

The Body Ritual of the Nacirema

It is human nature to describe one's own culture as the most advanced and most intellectual. Unfortunately, it is also common practice to look down upon the practices of another culture because they are not similar to one's own traditions. The ability to do this can sometimes be a damaging characteristic for society as a whole. Horace Miner realized the implications of egocentric views and wrote a groundbreaking essay to open society's eyes to their biases.

'The Body Ritual of the Nacirema' was written by Horace Miner for shock value. The article describes the rituals of a people which on the surface seem to be barbaric and highly out of date for that time at which the article was written. Some of the rituals described were women voluntarily baking their heads in ovens and visits to a 'holy-mouth man', which were extremely painful and costly, in order to gain social acceptance from their peers. Another unheard of tradition described in this essay was that of the sick people going to a temple where they had to give very large gifts in order to gain admittance to a place where many would never leave alive. It was said that even the children in this culture referred to this temple as 'the place where you go to die' , yet still the ill patients flocked to this temple with the hopes of getting well again though the chances of this were slim. Other practices described seemed so nonsensical like that of a people the believed in witchery, or rituals of putrid or outlandish that a readers stomach could turn from learning of some of the rituals these people partake in.

In a reflection of this essay one would think of how undeveloped this culture is, yet on further investigation the reader...

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