Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jones and Culture

The apparent argument brewing between Roger and Thomas over the Jones article has its merit, but something is being overlooked in it. We, as Americans of (only mostly, of course) Western European (See. Christian) descent are shocked by what we read in this play. The play itself is but one of many examples in a long line of West African literature detailing the three-sided awkwardness felt among Christian missionaries/converts, older Muslims groups, and those who still hold to the indigenous belief systems. Making up only one third of the concerned parties of the story, we will generally only identify with and understand one third of the participants.

As Jones makes clear in the semi-thesis that Roger expertly points out, Elesin's struggle, his goal, is to not let his people down. This is an exceptionally foreign idea to most us, being as there are elements within modern culture that frown upon patriotism and the things that go with it. Further, western society has always been pretty squeamish around the concept of suicide, even though it exists in religious forms (as seen in this play) all around the world. I would, in fact, like to compare this social structure seen in the play with that of medieval Japan, wherein a knight (samurai, bushi, horseman, etc.--insert your noun of choice--cavalier?) will commit suicide for the sake of his ruler. The world is bigger than us. Accept it.


Jeremy Andrew DeFatta said...

For some reason, when I post a blog the second paragraph always fights me. The ending is meant to say "The world is bigger than us. Accept it."

Roger Market said...

What is it we are missing? What are you trying to say? I just want to make it clear. Oh, and FYI, like Nick, I do not quite understand what you mean about patriotism and the "foreign idea."