Pollution And Its Effects On The Middle Ages Essay

1167 Words Mar 8th, 2016 5 Pages
Today pollution has another meaning compared to how it was defined during the Middle Ages. Currently, pollution is the introduction into the environment of a substance that has harmful effects. Immediately one 's mind jumps to factory smoke or chemicals. However, for most people, a person judged to be simply out of place is not one of those definitions. Pollution was viewed not in its modern sense of bacteria or chemicals, but as in odd sense that confuses and contradicts cherished classifications. Gilman believes that it is this old definition of pollution that was used by those in fear to create a boundary from the “dirt.” And as soon as that wall was constructed imaginary or not, it would make everyone outside the wall as dangerous if they trespass.

Those in the Middle Ages would not clean dirt for escaping disease, but it was a way of depolluting their environment to conform to a hierarchy created by God. Douglas’s idea of pollution works at two levels. First are the social pressures that are used to influence one another’s behavior. One of the examples Douglas uses is the dying wish of an old man (Douglas, p. 3.) God was expecting them to follow the request of a now deceased person, if they didn’t follow they would be ostracized. The other form of pollution is of the mixing of social orders. Douglas uses the example of bodily fluids, especially sexual fluids to represent sexual order. The emphasis on sexual fluids is no coincidence; Douglas describes hybrids, the…

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