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The Culture of the Nacirema Society Essay

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Updated: Aug 30th, 2020

Summary

The article discusses the culture of Nacirema society and its diversity. The Nacirema people are inhabitants of North American living in the territory between Canada and Mexico. The Nacirema, who have managed to live under exotic customs, have devoted themselves to the rituals of the body, where the emphasis has been put on the appearance and health of society. Their culture indicates that the whole body is ugly and has a natural tendency to disease.

According to the article, the Nacirema culture expects all households to have one or more shrines where they can perform rituals and ceremonies. However, it varies according to the economic status of the family. Rich families have several shrines in their houses, all of which are walled with stone. The shrine has a box containing charms and magical powers that make locals believe that their lives are centered on such potions.

The Nacirema culture has medicine men who prepare these concoctions to treat members and protect them from harm. This shows that the Nacirema hold on their culture to protect lives. The natives go through different rituals every single day. The Nacirema society revolves around ritual and magical powers. The sick are taken to the temple, where the medicine men perform healing rituals on them. Men perform their excretory functions in sacred vessels in the presence of vestal maidens, while women do it in the presence of men in the shrine. Diviners manipulate naked bodies of women in the process of ceremonial treatment. The article reflects the crudeness and irreverence of the ritual life of the Nacirema.

Response

The ritual customaries of the Nacirema have made them slaves of their culture. It is identified as an oppression of the power to their subjects in society. Some of their cultural beliefs have been outlived, and should not be embraced. Culturally, the sick are expected to be brought into the temple for healing rituals. A majority of the patients lose their lives in the process. The conditions are painful and not patient-friendly. Patients are laid on hard beds, where the medicine men inject needles in their bodies as a method of treatment. Patients lose lives in the end, raising questions on the efficiency of the ritual practices. Secondly, one must carry gifts so as to receive treatment.

Those who are cured should present additional gifts before leaving the temple. Patients who do not have gifts cannot be treated, and those cured cannot leave without presenting gifts. The Nacirema uphold rituals of the body, where excretory functions are ritualized. This raises concern as to why a man should go through the process before a woman and a woman before a man. This contradicts the beliefs and customs of society. Their culture limits intercourse and conception is not frequent. Therefore, the deaths that occur do not tally with the births in the community, indicating that the Nacirema population is on the decrease.

The ritual activities do not benefit the community and are instead causing harm to the coming generation. The people are bound to beliefs that do not promote personal values. For example, the culture does not allow women to breastfeed their children. Such children need to be breastfed to have stable immunity in their bodies. If this does not stop, children will continue dying, and the future of the community is at risk. The Nacirema should throw away such customs and advance in the process of civilization.

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IvyPanda. (2020, August 30). The Culture of the Nacirema Society. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-of-the-nacirema-society/

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"The Culture of the Nacirema Society." IvyPanda, 30 Aug. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-of-the-nacirema-society/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Culture of the Nacirema Society." August 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-of-the-nacirema-society/.


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IvyPanda. "The Culture of the Nacirema Society." August 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-of-the-nacirema-society/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Culture of the Nacirema Society." August 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-of-the-nacirema-society/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Culture of the Nacirema Society'. 30 August.

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