Body Rituals Among the Nacirema

Topics: Culture, The Culture, Ritual Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: May 5, 2012
“Body Rituals Among the Nacirema, “ by Horace Miner, is an essay written about the Nacirema, or American people, from an outsider’s perspective. Miner gives an insight on the Nacireman people, which he describes in his essay as an unknown tribe, and the completing of the Nacireman’s magical beliefs and practices, which involve daily, involuntary body rituals that cause much pain and discomfort. Miner shows how an outsider’s perspective can affect the way a culture is seen.

In his essay, Miner uses a tone that is formal and unbiased, which happens to be humorous at the same time. Miner’s thesis is clear, he is simply showing the reader of these practices. It is understandable that Miner is speaking of a strange culture with rituals that are strange and unheard of. The territory that Miner is referring to in his essay, the one that lies between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles, is America. Nacirema is American spelled backwards. Miner describes the Nacirema, or American culture as being “a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat.” He explains that every household as a shrine, in which they perform their daily body rituals in hopes to prevent illness. This is where Miner first begins to explain and give examples about the strange culture. This shrine that Miner refers to is the bathroom where bathing and excretion, along with other rituals, take place and the chest in the wall that carries the charms and magical potions, are the medicine cabinet and the medicine. This shrine that Miner refers to is a metamorphic statement. Miner then talks about health care professionals: refers to dentists as holy-mouth-men who work on tooth decay, and doctors as medicine men, who work at the latipsoh, which is hospital backwards, and “the listeners, a.k.a. psychologists. Miner’s choice of previously stated words add a bit of humor to the story and might make it more confusing for...
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