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Verbal Culture: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away Expository Essay

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Updated: Jul 21st, 2021


Verbal culture refers to the art in which the word of mouth is used as a means of enhancing communication, preserving people’s habits, and utilizing the “spoken word” in the daily interactions. The verbal word has been used since time immemorial in various cultures in the world.

In verbal culture, indexing of sound is a complicated and unthought-of of task. Instead of using text, verbal culture employs spoken words in ensuring that cultural practices are cherished, preserved and utilized through unwritten means (Donovan and Thompson, pp. 4-33; Adams, p.17). Description

The phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has its origin in Wales, United Kingdom. The uniqueness of the island of Wales, with its distinctive mountains and a splendid coastline, is likely to have contributed to the ever increasing popularity of the proverb (Rhys, John and Brynmor, pp.89-94).

This maxim, having been established in 1866 and commonly used in the Italian language, was later used in fork-lore and rustic speech with the belief that it would encourage more people to stay healthy.

While the use of apples has a lot of importance to the health to people, the formulation of this phrase was hardly in line with most of its renowned medical value. Different versions of this phrase do exist. The original reference to the term “apple” was with reference to any fruit that was round in shape and could be found on a tree (Mieder, p.26). Background history

Vitamin C contained in apples helps to strengthen the immune system while the phenols in them reduce the level of cholesterol in people’s bodies. The other benefit of apples is that they kill bacteria and clean teeth thus preventing tooth decay.

Furthermore, the other minute vitamins contained in apples aid in the protection of brain cells from any form of neuro-degenerative malfunctions such as the Alzheimer’s infections (Hastings, pp.32-41).

In the modern world, the phrase has continued to be crucial in encouraging parents to practice healthy eating and ensure that children remain healthy, proactive, and effective in all their endeavors that minimize the rate at which people fall sick. The proverb was first used in the United States of America in the year 1913 in an effort to bolster healthy eating habits in the country.

How the proverb affects Wales

In both cultures of Wales and Italy where the proverb was first used before it became relevant in the United States, the proverb has continued to have a profound impact. The literal meaning of the proverb and its application emanate from the understanding that healthy living is of utmost importance in life.

While the traditional culture of the Welsh on food and nutrition was greatly influenced by the culture, its impact on the culture has increasingly become less significant (Mieder, pp.435–464). More people have lost focus on the proverb’s original meaning while others have continued to conform to the modern meanings ascribed to the apple fruit.

People have continued to be healthy by focusing on eating healthy food stuffs rather than constantly consuming food stuffs that add little or no value to the body. Though the term “apple” was used in the proverb in reference to any fruit, people in Wales literally derived the meaning of the proverb to the specific benefits accrued from an apple fruit.

Welsh people continue to endear themselves to fruits due to the understanding of the value of fruits and the need for people to maintain healthy eating habits (Raymond, pp.19-23). Consequently, the popularity of the proverb also encourages the Welsh to venture in the production of a range of fruits and vegetables.

Sadly, the proverb discouraged some people from seeking medical attention with the belief that maintaining a balanced diet was as good as seeking medical attention when one is seek. Some people deceived into believing that there was literally no need for people to seek health services.

This misconception led to increased death rates, though this only happened in remote parts of Wales. In the modern world, people’s behavioral patterns and their response to this proverb have continued to lose value.

Rather than being applied in studies as a teaching tool for people to live balanced lives, the proverb’s impact with reference to people’s eating habits and their response to diseases has become insignificant (Dominguez, pp.19-42). Effect of the proverb on the American culture

Understanding that an apple fruit contains vitamin C which boosts people’s immune system remains to be a major benefit associated with the proverb. Though directly not forced to use the fruit, most Americans have resorted to the use of fruits with the aim of ensuring that they remain healthy.

Prevention of cancers, reduction of the rate of tooth decay, reduction of brain related diseases, and control of lungs related infections is a sure benefit to the Americans (Gwyn, pp.6-32; Mieder and Alan, p.45).Prevention of heart diseases in human body is a major benefit accrued from the application of the proverb. This proverb greatly encourages individuals to develop healthy eating habits by consuming fruits such as apples.

As a result, it has become important for most people in society to eat fruits, and to generally maintain healthy eating habits. In fact, Americans have become healthy thus reducing the overall government expenditure on health and nutrition (Dornacher, p.37).

The proverb has also helped to shape the attitude and behavioral patterns of the Americans towards the doctors as most of them have in return, though contrary to what would otherwise be the case, become very respectful to fitness and health related professions. American culture has greatly embraced the use of fruits.

The stress levels among the America due to the ever increasing cost of living has made more people to suffer from heart related diseases such as cardiovascular malady, high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary, atherosclerosis, and arrhymia among others.

Being an educated society, the American culture is shaped on the understanding that apple fruits are rich in flavonoid which helps to minimize the impact of most heart diseases. Indeed, a normal size apple has about 70 and 100 calories. This is the reason why Americans love apples. Apples also have calories have an antioxidant effect (Mieder, p.13). Facts collected during the interview

Ethnographic information

To enhance better understanding and application of the proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, a thirty nine year old gentleman, Bhutan Cline, was interviewed and vital information collected with regards to the proverb. Though the Cline is originally from Wale, he has been living in the United States for over twenty years. 2. Informant’s Interpretation

The interviewee, Cline, revealed vital information on the meaning of the proverb. The relevance addressed was with reference to two cultures – Wales and the United States of America, with emphasis on the American culture. According to Cline’s understanding, the term “apple” as used in the proverb refers to any consumable fruit. The word ‘doctor” denotes problems and other forms of health tribulations in people’s lives (Mieder, p.7).

The apple is therefore used as a symbol of good health, better living, and having hope for the future. It is evident from the interview that the importance of the proverb lies in the value associated with an apple fruit.

It is evident that the proverb encourages people to eat a balanced diet by integrating the use of fruits in their menu and that my misconception of what the term grape meant was put right (Braux, pp.25-27). Scholarly research

In both Wales and the U.S., proverbs play a crucial role in educating the public and passing vital information from one generation to the other (Mieder, pp. 17-21). Proverbs shape people’s cultural values as well as determining some of their common behavioral patterns. According to Braux (2009: 95), health is a vital topic that can never be ignored.

Williams (34) also explains that fruits are crucial in enhancing people’s wellbeing. In the US, the proverb in question has greatly been used in most institution of learning to encourage children and the youths to desist from dangerous eating habits.

In summary, both the Walsh and the Americans have heavily relied on verbal culture in a number of ways. Emphasis on key proverbs aims at enhancing a morally healthy society. The proverb has continued to gain significance even in modern times.

Works Cited

Adams, Guy. Celts descended from Spanish fishermen, study finds’-,This Britain, UK-The Independent 20 September 2006, The Independent, London, and 2006.Print.

Braux, Alain, How to Lower Your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food, Alain Braux International Publishers, 2009.Print.

Dominguez, Barajas, The function of proverbs in discourse, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2010.Print.

Donovan, Sandy and Thompson, Collins, Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?: and Other Questions about Your Health and Body, Lerner Publishing Group, 2010, 4-33.Print.

Dornacher, Karla, Sweat as Apple Pie, Daily Inspiration of Healthy and Fruitful Living, Nashvile, 2011.Print.

Gwyn,.Williams, The Welsh in their History, Wales: published, 1982.Print.

Hastings, Adrian, The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion, and Nationalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.Print.

Mieder, Wolfgang and Alan, Dundes, The wisdom of many: essays on the proverb. (Originally published in 1981 by Garland. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994.Print.

Mieder, Wolfgang, Proverbs in Nazi Germany: The Promulgation of Anti-Semitism and Stereotypes through Folklore. The Journal of American Folklore 95, No. 378, 435–464.Print.

Pryor, Francis, Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans by Francis, 1998, 121-122. Harper Perennial. Print.

Raymond, Joseph, and Tension in proverbs: more light on international understanding. Western Folklore, 1956.Print.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Verbal Culture: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away." July 21, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/verbal-culture-an-apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Verbal Culture: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away'. 21 July.

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