Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman | Study Guide

Marjorie Shostak

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Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman | Chapter Summaries


Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Introduction Nisa, roughly 20 years of age at the time of the incident, describes her experience giving birth in the bush by herself,... Read More
Chapter 1 The author details the lives of infants, who "spend the first few years in almost constant close contact with their moth... Read More
Chapter 2 !Kung children may resent younger siblings who displace them from being the center of attention. Though fighting among c... Read More
Chapter 3 Rainfall varies dramatically in the !Kung region, from five to 40 inches per year, and "severe drought" happens every fo... Read More
Chapter 4 There is little privacy in !Kung life, which makes it difficult for adults to keep their sex lives discreet. Couples may... Read More
Chapter 5 Girls usually marry around age 16, while boys do so between 20 and 30. The ages generally reflect entrance into adulthoo... Read More
Chapter 6 During important ritual events such as marriage or initiation, the !Kung experience a state called kua, which may expres... Read More
Chapter 7 Marriage becomes more equal after the first few years, and strong women often become role models in their community. Eve... Read More
Chapter 8 For !Kung girls to achieve the happy home life many of them aspire to, they must first get through "the often frightenin... Read More
Chapter 9 Although the !Kung have an adequate, nutritious diet and plenty of exercise, their overall health level is "not good." I... Read More
Chapter 10 Over time the Tswana and Herero peoples build permanent settlements in the Dobe area, which begin to encroach upon the l... Read More
Chapter 11 Women in most societies "have a lower status than men," Shostak notes, though !Kung women "are something of an anomaly."... Read More
Chapter 12 The !Kung often refer to sex as "food" and consider it just as important to survival, saying that "hunger for sex can ca... Read More
Chapter 13 The !Kung believe in humanlike gods, one greater god and several lesser gods and spirits, and they attribute human chara... Read More
Chapter 14 The !Kung are wary of dangerous wild animals in the bush, though few tribe members are killed by such beasts. A greater ... Read More
Chapter 15 !Kung elders are respected and influential in the community because "old people know things," including the history and ... Read More
Epilogue Shostak opens with further information about the history of the !Kung San, who had historically warred with neighboring ... Read More
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