Religion and Mead

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The essay, “New Superstitions for Old” was written by author, Margret Mead (1901-1979).The essay was published in “A Way of Seeing”(1970).She earned her bachelor’s degree at Barnard College in New York City. First an American cultural anthropologist followed by a professor at Columbia University, Mead produced several major studies such as “Coming of Age in Samoa”, and “Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies.” Many literary elements are present in this essay but the main purpose seems to be expressive. Throughout the essay Mead expresses thoughts that bring about her values and beliefs that superstition plays a pivotal role in our lives. In one passage, Mead writes, ”….transitional objects that help people pass through the areas of life such as where what happens to be accepted without proof and the areas where sequences of events are explicable in terms of cause and effect, based on knowledge”(630). Here we see that in life there are difficulties that are hard to overcome. Superstitions allow people to feel better and explain what is hard to understand providing a sense of comfort. Mead expresses emotional response when she refers to childhood memories. This implies a self-definition of having faith and hope in the manifest idea of luck and chance. Mead reports “Even in the most sophisticated home, something is likely to happen that evokes the memory of some old folk belief” (629). Whether you fully believe in the idea of superstitions or not, it seems to still leave a lingering thought of “what-if.” Meads implementation of a self-definition and her emotional responses ultimately provides support in account that on a personal level she can relate to having experiences naturally making expressive the essay’s main purpose. The essays main pattern seems to be descriptive although the pattern illustration is evident in the many examples she provides. Throughout the essay Mead uses the pattern description to create a dominant impression because...
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