Article Review On Nacirema Article Evaluation

Published: 2021-06-22 00:00:00
essay essay

Category: Medicine, Health, Human, Dentistry, Body, Wellness

Type of paper: Essay

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The Nacirema are a group of North Americans who live between the Canadian Creel, the Yaqui, and the Mexican Tarahumare, and the Antilles’ Arawak and Carib. Their tradition indicates that they came from the east. The culture of the Nacirema comprises of a well-organized market economy, developed in a rich natural habitat. Ritual activities, on the other hand, consume a considerable portion of the people’s resources and time. The human body, its health and appearance, is the main focus of these rituals. The ceremonies and philosophies that accompany the rituals are unique and unusual. The whole system is based on the belief that the human body is ugly and susceptible to debility and disease. It is also believed that the only way to avert such occurrences is through rituals and associated ceremonies. Each and every household, therefore, consists of one or more shrines that serve this purpose. In fact, the wealth of a household is determined by the number of shrines it possesses.
A box, built into the wall of a shrine, accommodates numerous charms and magical portions, which the natives believe they cannot live without. Medicine men are responsible for the preparation of these charms, and their assistance is heavily rewarded with gifts. The medicine men, decide the ingredients of the charms, write them down in a secretive language, understood by the herbalists. The client is required to provide another gift in order to get the required charm from the herbalist. Used charms are not disposed but kept in the charm box. As a result, the charm box usually overflows with magical materials for specific ailments including real or imagined diseases. The natives believe that by they will be, in some way, protected by these old magical materials.
Holy-mouth men are specialists responsible for the performance of rituals of the mouth. The Nacirema believe that the pathological condition of the mouth has a supernatural influence on social relationships. The ritual of the mouth is therefore necessary to prevent the teeth from falling out, gums from bleeding, jaws from shrinking and friends and lovers from rejecting them. Despite the concern about care of the mouth, the practice involved in this rite is crude and scary. A small bundle of hog hair is put into the mouth, magical powers are added, and the bundle is moved in a series of gestures. The exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves the use of a set of paraphernalia to perform unbelievable ritual torture to the client. The tools are used to enlarge holes in the teeth created by decay. Charms are then put into these holes. Such a rite is performed every year despite the fact that the teeth continue to decay.
Latipsos are temples used by medicine men to perform specific rituals required to treat very sick patients. The latipso rituals are so harsh that only a small proportion of the natives who undergo it ever recover. However, sick adults who can afford to undergo the ritual do so willingly. Regardless of the gravity of an emergency, lapitso custodians will not admit a client if he is unable to provide a rich gift. Admitted clients will only leave the temple if they offer another gift. Clients are stripped of their clothes after entering the temple. Acts such as excretion and bathing, normally performed in the privacy of household shrines, are performed in lapitsos. The naked bodies of women undergo the scrutiny of medicine men.
Despite the fact that these rituals may not cure diseases, the people’s faith in medicine men is not reduced. The Nacirema depend so much on magic and rituals. It is, therefore, difficult to understand how they have managed to survive for so long under these burdens they have imposed upon themselves.

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