Miner: American Vs. Nacirema
Horace Miner expresses both irony and ridicule towards the American culture in his article “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”. He uses a sociological approach that is rather witty, using a fictitious North American group called the “Nacirema”. The views of this culture are much like our own, depicting the importance of societal status, wealth, health and appearance. Miner introduces the readers to a society living between Canada and Mexico, originated by a founder called “Notgnihsaw”, who chopped down a cherry tree to claim an awareness of truth. Instantly, this sparks the reader’s attention by recognizing the similarity of the American culture. The reader might notice that “Notgnihsaw” is “Washington” spelled backwards, and Washington was the founding Father of our country. Miner continues explaining that the primary belief of this culture is that one’s body is prone to unsightly imperfections and disease. The prevention of such imperfections is vital, and the use of magic potions and remedies bought from various medicine doctors and healers are deemed necessary for use in their daily rituals. Americans worship their body, and it would be a sin to live any other way. The symbolism and similarities shown in this article express the qualitative research method. Miner uses tone and impressions that represent real events. The image is realistic. Miner has demonstrated his view from the outside, while remaining unbiased. His choice of words allows the reader to reflect on their own culture. The “shrine”, for example, is the place where all the magic happens. Daily rituals are performed here in the privacy of their own homes. Children are also introduced to these rituals at the appropriate age. Only men shave daily, and women perform their own body make-overs less frequently. The “charm box” symbolizes a medicine cabinet, where all the remedies are kept, then often forgot about. The cabinet is over-flowing with remedies for everything....
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