Ruth Benedict

1108 WordsDec 9, 20025 Pages
Ruth Benedict's anthropological book, Patterns of Culture explores the dualism of culture and personality. Benedict studies different cultures such as the Zuni tribe and the Dobu Indians. Each culture she finds is so different and distinctive in relation to the norm of our society. Each difference is what makes it unique. Benedict compares the likenesses of culture and individuality, "A culture, like an individual, is a more or less consistent pattern of thought or action" (46), but note, they are not the same by use of the word, "like." Benedict is saying that figuratively, cultures are like personalities. Culture and individuality are intertwined and dependent upon each other for survival. The Zuni's, according to Benedict, are…show more content…
According to Benedict, it is not important to stress what sets culture and individual apart. It is important to concentrate on what it is that brings them together, "It is always a give-and-take. The problem of the individual is not clarified by stressing the antagonism between culture and the individual, but by stressing their mutual reinforcement" (253). It is the differences between culture and individuality that allow for a healthy friction to occur. In the process of give-and-take, culture is fed into the individual at a very early age and as the child grows he is able to have feedback into culture (either by adapting or rebelling). When Benedict says that cultures are like personalities she means this figuratively. Benedict seems to blend individuality and culture in "The Individual and Culture." Perhaps what Benedict means is that individuality and culture work so closely that they can be confused as the same. "His culture provides the raw material of which the individual makes his life. If it is meagre, the individual suffers; if it is rich, the individual has a chance to rise to his opportunity" (252). Benedict clarifies perfectly in this statement. Culture acts as the starting point for an individual. If an individual is blessed with the riches of a particular culture, then they are that much better off. However, if a person is not blessed with the riches of their culture, they are at a disadvantage and must work

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