Body Ritual Among The Nacirema Analysis

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Horace Miner Reaction Paper The "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema," by Horace Miner, takes an anthropological view on an unnamed culture. Upon reading, it becomes quite clear that Miner is speaking of the United States, but writes to create the illusion that the American culture is unique and widely unexplored. Even the word "Nacirema" is a hint towards the actual subject of the paper; If spelled backwards "Nacirema" spells the word, American. Miner does this to convey a message that American culture is not as well understood as many would think and that the vast majority of our cultural nuances and rituals would be perceived as odd or peculiar to foreign onlookers. Miner discusses the cultures need for privacy, the fight against aging, and…show more content…
Miner refers to dentists as holy mouth men and bathrooms as shrines for odd ritual practices. His language is clearly satirical and creates the notion of the "Nacirema" as vain and self obsessed. Also, they seem to be a masochistic society built around willingly subjecting themselves to pain and torture. The “Nacirema” knowingly allow “medicine men” and “holy-mouth-men” to perform debilitating painful procedures to prevent the unavoidable decay of their mouths and bodies. Miner makes subtle comedic reference to the classic stereotype of doctors having atrocious handwriting when he writes, "write them down in an ancient and secret language." He also describes shaving in a way that portrays the act as barbaric and self mutilating, "scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument." Americans are seen by the author as private and secretive about their bodies and various bodily functions. He makes the observation that when they are in the "Latispoh" (Hospital) they are stripped of all dignity and control of their own bodies. Miner talks about how he finds it illogical for patients to completely trust thaumaturge when they have taken their privacy and may kill them with their treatment. It is referred to as the Nacirema's magical
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