Coming of Age in Samoa

1724 Words7 Pages
Coming of Age in Somoa

Margaret Mead 's "Coming of Age in Samoa", which was actually her doctoral dissertation, was compiled in a period of six months starting in 1925.
Through it, people were given a look at a society not affected by the problems of 20th century industrial America. She illustrated a picture of a society where love was available for the asking and crime was dealt with by exchanging a few mats. This book helps one to realize the large role played by social environment. One of Mead 's biggest challenges was probably the fact that her fieldwork was done entirely in the Samoan language. In Samoa, few, if any natives spoke English.

To get information, Mead spent her time talking to approximately 25 Samoan women.
…show more content…
Unless a woman gets pregnant again, she will nurse her child until it is two or three years old. Once the baby starts growing into a toddler, there are many strict rules they are expected to follow. The first is that they must only learn to crawl and sit within the house. Once they can stand, they are never to stand while addressing an adult. All children must know to stay out of the sun, and to never tangle the strands of a weaver. It is also not acceptable for a child, no matter how young, to scatter the cut up coconut which is spread out to dry. The last rule that she speaks of is that the children must make sure that their loin clothes are attached at all times. The girls principle task while growing up is to learn to weave. In fact, girl 's chances of marriage are badly damaged if the village hears that she is lazy in domestic tasks.

The Samoan village is made up of 30 to 40 households and the master is called the matai. An older relative has a right to demand personal service or to criticize the conduct and interfere with the affairs of a younger relative. The most important relationship within a Samoan household is that between brother and sister. This does not even necessarily mean by blood. This relationship is of the most importance in influencing the lives of young people. The word aiga is used to cover all relationships by blood, marriage and adoption. The family cooking is taken
Get Access