Ethnocentrism at the Top of the world

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<BR> <br> In Hans Ruesch's novel The Top of the World the author describes the life of the polar Eskimos (Inuits) in depth. The main focus of the novel is to show the differences between their culture and ours, and how the introduction of the white mans customs changed their way of life. The concepts of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism are major themes in The Top of the World. Understanding these concepts is important for a full understanding of the ways people think and behave. <br> The Inuit society at the top of the world is a small one. While the Inuits in this novel interact with many people, this was not how most of the polar Eskimos lived. They lived very secluded lives and only interacted with a few families throughout their lives. While the small Inuit population wasn't a main focus in this book, it does affect many aspects of their lives. The main cause for the small population is the lack of resources. There is hardly any vegetation, and the game is tough to hunt. For this reason the Inuits control their population. If the first born is a girl, the child is set out on the ice to die. <br>While this is looked unfavorably upon my most other cultures and by the missionaries in the novel, it is simply a way of life for the Inuits. The white men <br> <br>cannot accept this practice as it is against Christian belief, and furthermore cannot see it as the Inuits do. This is one of many examples of the white mans ethnocentrism in The Top of the World. <br> The role of women in Inuit society is described at great lengths in The Top of the World. The Inuit men have great respect for the women. The women care for the children, build igloos, sew, tenderize skins with their teeth, and complete many other arduous tasks. The concept of wife sharing is another practice popular among the Inuits, of which the white men disapprove.

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