Man to Send Rain Clouds Essay

Man to Send Rain Clouds Essay.

Culture instills a significant role in family life. Family traditions are often passed down from one generation to the next, and usually produce added complexity from outside influence over time. The original identity of the belief continues to be apparent, although more ideas have been added to the basic cultural belief. In Leslie Silko’s short story, “The Man to send Rain Clouds”, this predicament arises. Although a constant influence of Catholic beliefs are apparent in the Pueblo people’s society, Leon and his family still display their Native American identity through their actions present throughout the story.

Silko explains that her people “were well informed about [culture],” and that “old traditions were dying out” (Silko, “Language” 772). The local Catholic Church’s minister, Father Paul, attempts to incorporate the Church’s teaching into the Laguna’s way of life. He shows great concern for Leon and his family “miss[ing] [Mass] last Sunday,” (Silko, “Man” 50), and requests the family to attend the following weekend.

Father Paul successfully influences Leon’s sister, Louise. When she finds out about her grandfather’s death, she suggests incorporating the ritual of pouring holy water on his gravesite “so he won’t be thirsty” (Silko, “Man” 50).

Although Catholic interference tries to influence the Native Pueblo culture, Leon constantly attempts to retain his Native identity. When Leon and Ken discover their Grandfather dead in the arroyo, they immediately perform the Native Pueblo customs. The customs included the painting of their grandfather’s face, tying a feather to his hair, wrapping him in a red blanket, and tossing cornmeal into the wind. By performing these rituals, they “[keep] the family … and clan together” (Silko, “Language” 766), showing the great importance they hold upon their cultural beliefs. When transferring grandfather Teofilo back into town, Leon and Ken deceivingly tell Father Paul that “[Teofilo] won’t [be herding sheep] any more now,” (Silko, “Man” 50), in an attempt to hide their grandfather’s death to escape the Catholic rituals being forced upon him.

Even though Leon attempts to keep his Native identity, he eventually acclimates to his Catholic surroundings. He asks Father Paul to incorporate the holy water ritual in conjunction with the Native American burial. Leon exclaims that he “is happy [about] the sprinkling of the holy water,” because now his grandfather could “send them big thunderclouds,” (Silko, “Man” 52), just as he has wished earlier in the story. During the process of the Catholic ritual, even Father Paul “is reminded of something,” (Silko, “Man” 52), in regards to a connection between the two cultures beliefs. The pouring of the holy water displays a metaphor. The metaphor demonstrates, that if one finds similarities between different cultures, the ability to accept the idea into your own way of thinking, becomes much easier.

When cultures collide, their beliefs hold a tendency to influence one another. However, the original beliefs and values must be kept noticeable, or else the origins of the culture may die out. Silko’s explanation “[Cultures], bring us together, despite great distances between [them],” (Silko, “Language” 772), shows that the different beliefs people withhold brings us together. Although the Church attempts to influence Leon’s family, and Leon tries to keep the identity of his beliefs, they eventually concede to form what may be known as a new form of Laguna culture.

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Man to Send Rain Clouds Essay

The Elusive Nacirema Tribe Essay

The Elusive Nacirema Tribe Essay.

In the everyday life of the perceived “normal” individual, rituals and rites performed by individuals as part of a different culture might seem harsh, cruel or even barbaric. After my first read of “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”, that is how I perceived their daily way of life. They believe in magic potions, seeking pain from the “holy – mouth – men” a couple of times a year, and the men and women perform acts that seem to contradict one another by trying to obtain abnormal body shapes, and then the men cut their face daily and the women “bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour”.

What I discovered when reading this article again was that the author, Sir Horatio Galbraith, put a spin on words in many different ways, but this article just goes to show that what may seem normal to you could be portrayed as a terrible way to conduct daily life to others. In this article, Galbraith made mention about the Nacirema people being incarcerated into ugly and disease ridden bodies, and they make extreme efforts to “avert these characteristics through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and ceremony.

He also noted that these people make visits to receive excruciatingly painful procedure they consider an “exorcism of the evils” from a magical practitioner best known as the “holy-mouth-men”. At first glance, both of these points the author has made make it seem as though these people are very rigid and harsh with their decisions in life. It seems almost like they make an effort to induce pain on themselves to achieve a culturally acceptable appearance. However after analyzing and relating these acts to my own way of life, I noted several similarities.

In society today, the majority of people strive to look better than they currently do by dieting, working out and by making sure their mouth and teeth look their very best. These are just a few examples among many other efforts that are made by people to look better than they normally do, or at least get close to or above the normal standard. The “holy-mouth-men” is a clear reference to the dentist. Galbraith noted that the Nacirema people visit this man once or twice a year which falls into the normal visit frequency today’s society exhibits.

The rituals and rites performed by the people of the Nacirema tribe were diversely separated between men and women. A specific ritual only performed by the men “involves scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. ” The description of this practice will lead the unknowing reader to derive this as an act of barbarity, however after trying to find a connection between this description and something that occurs during the daily life of the men in today’s society, I discovered that this is nothing more than an embellished description of a man shaving his face daily with what else; a razor!

This type of twist and embellishment on words is what hindered me from figuring out what the real purpose of this article was in the first place. Galbraith makes reference to a ritual performed four times during on lunar month, only by women. His comment regarding this act by the women was “what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity. ” The ritual performed by the women was described as baking their heads in small ovens for about an hour. Of course this type of act sounds horrific when worded this way, but again I tried to make a connection.

When women in today’s society get their hair colored or have a permanent curl put in their hair, they have to sit under the dryer on the chairs that line the walls of the hair salon. I have sat under one of these chairs myself, and I cannot imagine that it is even anywhere near the same extreme of baking your head for an hour in a small oven. I believe one point the author was trying to make was that not only are these people obsessed with their appearance and overall health, but they are more obsessed with being to control and change it as they see fit.

Galbraith also seemed as though he was trying to make note of the fact that they want to look better than the average, but in doing so, they want to keep it a secret as if the surrounding members of their society will not discover that they are not naturally made that way. Ethnocentrically, these types of practices seem strange and it seems as though these people are trying too hard; however, from a culturally relative point of view every individual has the right to practice whatever rites and rituals they deem fit and proper, as long as they do not fall on the wrong side of the legal law that resides over their area.

As part of this assignment, I am supposed to list how I would react if placed in this culture; however I believe I am already living and functioning in this culture. Galbraith did not just make a play on words when describing the normal acts of the day to day individual, he also made a play on words when he named this tribe Nacirema; spelled backwards it spells American.

I have gone through this article time and time again and have successfully identified everything he mentioned in the article as a connection with the American people. The only difference is that Galbraith went to extremes when describing the “rituals and rites” as to mislead the reader, but in a way everything he said was accurate in context. I enjoyed reading and analyzing this article once I made the connection. In some ways it was an eye opener, and other parts made me laugh.

The Elusive Nacirema Tribe Essay