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Horace Miner Response

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Horace Miner Response

Horace Miner's essay "Body Ritual Among The Nacirema" is deeper then a clever critique of the absurdities of the American culture. Other then mocking the science of anthropology, Miner shows how an outsider would view America. This sight would not be much different from an American viewing an uncivilized village in the middle of the forest. Miner's essay extensively proves that the culture of America is not very different then many other civilizations. The perspective of the person looking in on a society essentially makes all the difference. If that person has a different point-of-view from those whom live within the civilization, then all 'normal' customs would seem alien. This message that Miner vividly sends must be remembered when studying outside cultures. If the mistake of not keeping this message in mind is made, huge misunderstandings about a society would occur. Miner's essay is a well written analysis of the absurdities of the American culture, while also proving the importance of perspective in studying different civilizations.

Miner thoroughly conveys his ideas by describing the ridiculousness that regularly occurs in the American society. Miner states that:

The funalmental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, mn's only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and ceremony. (Miner 471)

This is true of the American culture, constantly trying to correct what is already perfectly fine, such as the use of unnecessary plastic surgery. Minor's essay is in part a powerful criticism focused on the ridiculous occurrences that take place in an average Americans life.

Miner's essay also deals with the importance of the perspective of someone studying another culture. Miner describing the bathroom as 'the shrine' is perfect for his purposes: "The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept the man y charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured form a variety of specialized practitioners" (Miner 471). Someone coming from another society might think that America



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