Ruth Benedict

Topics: Ruth Benedict, Culture, Anthropology Pages: 3 (1108 words) Published: December 9, 2002
Ruth Benedict's anthropological book, Patterns of Culture explores the dualism of culture and personality. Benedict studies different cultures such as the Zuni tribe and the Dobu Indians. Each culture she finds is so different and distinctive in relation to the norm of our society. Each difference is what makes it unique. Benedict compares the likenesses of culture and individuality, "A culture, like an individual, is a more or less consistent pattern of thought or action" (46), but note, they are not the same by use of the word, "like." Benedict is saying that figuratively, cultures are like personalities. Culture and individuality are intertwined and dependent upon each other for survival.

The Zuni's, according to Benedict, are a culture that is very consumed with ceremony and ritual. The Zuni's value the absence of excess, moderation, ceremony and tradition, "He keeps the middle of the road, stays within the known map, does not meddle with disruptive psychological states…even in the exaltation of the dance he ‘remains what he is, and retains his civic name" (79). This quote symbolizes the extreme devotion and belief infested in the Zuni culture. A strong sense of restraint and composure is found in the end of the quote, "even in the exaltation of the dance he remains what he is." The Zuni's prize the unity of the community as a functioning whole. It is necessary in this culture to adapt to the norm of the community in order to be a successful member of society. The Zuni's are considered to be an Appolonian society. They are group centered, a humble, modest and ritualistic society. In a culture such as the Zuni's the individual voice can have a tendency to not be heard.

Unlike the Zuni, the Dobu value excess, imbalance, and immoderation. The Dobu are self-sufficient and self-reliant. They live in a hostile environment and wear fake smiles and only care about their own personal gain. Dobu's will kill, cheat, and steal to get the things...
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