338 notes - Elizabeth Counter- March 20, 2008 English 338...

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Elizabeth Counter-- March 20, 2008 English 338 The River Between: 1940’s (present day Kenya) During British colonization, before  independence. Major Issues—conflicts between African traditions and colonialism/Christianity.  Conflict and  Possible solutions.   What role does female circumcision play in this conflict?  Actual Female Genital Cutting was the  basis of the conflict.  The conflict evolved and changed.  That is when FC became the conflict— articulated in terms of the conflict. Characterize conflict in the beginning of book:   Founding Myth: Similar to the story of Adam and Eve.  Told about the two ridges with river  between.  Two ridges are in conflict with each other.  One side, trying to stick to traditions, other  side, trying to colonize, become Christians.   What causes situation to deteriorate?   Who is responsible for making the conflict worse? Father sends son--Boy goes to white school,  and comes back and wants to spread the “knowledge of the white man,” Joshua is really  bothered by that.  Not an automatic rejection though—rejection of the schools does not come  until later.   No white people there on ridge-then when white people came, they took the land, and they  displaced the people who had lived there for ages.  Those who decided to stay had to pay taxes  to the British.  Not only did they have to pay taxes, they had to work on the land for the British.  Sense of injustice.   Purity of tradition—takes on a whole new language of purity, contamination, etc.  This did not  exist before.  Also inventing this language/rules along the way.   Accused of going into a church, therefore he is allowing himself to be contaminating, breaking  an oath—being a traitor.  He touched the women when she died.  (When you touch a dead  woman, you are contaminated which goes against the beliefs of the tribe.)  
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When do they start prosecuting uncircumcised girls?  An uncircumcised girl complains (p. 121)  that uncircumcised girls were the targets of cutting attacks.  Wrath of spirits would be brought  upon them.  Brings up that circumcision would become forced one day (to rid the world of  impurities).  In the movie, we get the IDEA that uncircumcised= dirty.  However, in this part of  the book, they come out and say it to us.   If someone is singled out and made to feel like “the other,” one possible response is to cling  more tightly to their traditions.  Want to not assimilate completely.  Being singled out because of  FGM, and they feel that it is culture.  The more it is politicized, the more they fight to keep it.  
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This note was uploaded on 05/09/2008 for the course ENGL 338 taught by Professor Amireh during the Spring '08 term at George Mason.

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338 notes - Elizabeth Counter- March 20, 2008 English 338...

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