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Summary: the Individual Pattern of Culture

In: English and Literature

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Summary: The Individual and the Pattern of Culture
“One of her great purposes in writing Patterns of Culture was to point out the extraordinary diversity among cultures and, specifically, to show that individuals are products of their culture just as their culture is the product of individuals” (Benedict 302). Ruth Benedict’s “The Individual and the Pattern of Culture” is an essay in which she talks about an individual and their relationship with their society. Using examples from various societies, Benedict discusses different ways of life accepted by different civilizations.
First, the article talks about an individual from Dobu. This man was friendly and happy and did not upset anyone. This behavior being normal in most societies was not accepted by the Dobuan culture, where the normal behavior is to fight back and not settle peacefully. In the same way, the article also speaks of the individual from Zuni who acted violently, and wasn’t friendly. This individual was directly opposite than Douban individual, whereas, the Zuni culture’s normal behavior was to act friendly and not the violent behavior demonstrated, opposite that of the Douban culture. Benedict states that these individuals are not “psychotic”, but instead just outside of social norms and not accepted by their cultures. To another culture, the behaviors of the individuals would be completely normal.
Another culture discussed in the article was the Eskimos. Benedict discusses the form of restitution used by the Eskimos. For example, when a member of the family is murdered the murderer must take place of the victim. There they will take on the roles that the victim played in the family.
Benedict also talks about how trance is abnormal in Western civilization, but normal in the Indian tribes of California. The article gives examples of real situations where trance has been used and told how the…...

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