Ruth Fulton Benedict Essay

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Considered a pioneer in her time, Ruth Fulton Benedict was an American anthropologist who helped to popularize anthropology while introducing such terms as culture and racism into common place language. As an advocate against discriminatory attitudes, Benedict advocated for tolerance and individuality within social norms and expectations and sought to determine that each culture has its own moral imperatives. Considered her most famous written work, Patterns of Culture, Benedict explores the differences between rituals, beliefs, and personal preferences and how within that culture, personality within the individual exists. While Benedict advocated for tolerance within individual choice and society, she also recognized the struggle within …show more content…
Perhaps the isolation that Benedict experienced as a young girl can be considered a stepping stone to the future. Using a pen name of Anne Singleton, Benedict wrote poetry and graduated from high school at St. Margaret’s Academy. Continuing to have aspirations of personal success, Benedict enrolled at Vassar College where she majored in English and later became a teacher after moving to Los Angeles with her sister. Benedict was yearning for something and yet at this time could not find what was beckoning to emerge when she married and returned to New York City. It was during this time, that Benedict experienced her internal conflicts and began to seek fulfillment. Coupled with a desire for personal growth and seeking refuge from an empty and childless marriage she began pursuing her education. This conflict was seen in Benedict’s candor in her mid to late thirties as she pursued graduate work. As written in personal journals, Benedict says, “I gambled on having the strength to live two lives, one for myself and one for the world” (Mead, p.3).
Unsatisfied with her life, Benedict married a biochemist named Stanley Benedict in 1914 hoping to find meaning. Benedict and her husband were unable to have children which caused strain in the marriage during an era where women were valued as homemakers and mothers. Benedict yearned for something more in her life, and it was then that she discovered

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